Traveling–particularly traveling without kids–offers the perfect opportunity for traveling moms to catch up on reading, whether it’s working through a folder of memos and reports, catching up on magazines and newspapers, or diving into a riveting novel.

Even with the alone time that comes with traveling without kids, many traveling moms still struggle to get through their piles of pent-up reading. Abby Marks Beale, a speed reading coach, says there are several reasons for that, and that it is possible to overcome those obstacles and rev up your reading on the road.

“The way we learn to read early in life affects our reading speed today,” says Marks Beale, founder of The Corporate Educator, creator of the Rev It Up Reading speed reading course and lead author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading.

“For example, the average person reads 250 words per minute,” she says. “But if you were taught to read using phonics and still say each word in your head, then chances are you are reading at a slower pace and it takes you more time to get through your materials.”

According to Marks Beale, what we like to read can also affect our ability to move through the pages faster and more productively.

“Whether readers prefer nonfiction, fiction, or both, reading something unfamiliar can be frustrating. The words, particularly if written in small print, can become tedious to look at and strain our eyes. Our brains need to work harder to picture what’s being conveyed.”

Reading in the Digital Age

Today with the rapid advancement of technology, more people are reading directly from digital screens at their desks, in their homes, and on the road. Digital reading requires different techniques and tools than reading from a printed page. The text is formatted differently and requires a change in approach.

“In my online course, I teach people strategies and techniques so they can more confidently read from a computer screen without having to print out paper,” says Marks Beale. “For example, there is an average of 18-25 words in one line across a screen versus six words across a newspaper column. I train people how to expand their peripheral vision and track their eyes differently to get from one line to another quickly.”

Getting More Out of What You Read

When you are reading to get information or attain certain knowledge, the thought of getting through a thick, detailed book or article can be daunting. However you don’t need to read every word in order to get the gist of what you need.

“Focus on getting at the main points, not deep into the details,” advises Marks Beale. “If a nonfiction book is well-written and the editors have done their job, the main idea should be present in the first sentence of every paragraph. Simply read those sentences and skim the rest. You should acquire an understanding quickly and easily without having to go into things you don’t need to know.”

When it comes to increasing one’s reading speed, Marks Beale says it is a misconception that the more you read, the faster you will be. “People think speed reading is a super human ability when it’s simply about using a few different strategies at different times that allow you to glean the information you need without spending a lot of time doing it.”