Here's a quick and easy exercise you can do before you read that will significantly improve your reading speed, comprehension and recall:
Before you begin any reading task, close your eyes and take a deep breath.
With your eyes closed, spend 15-20 seconds thinking about these two questions:
What is my purpose for reading the item in front of me?
What goals do I want to achieve by reading this item?
This exercise not only relaxes and focuses your mind, it also puts you into an efficient and purposeful reading state.
A note to cynical readers: If you have a negative reaction to the idea of doing a brief exercise like this, or if you think doing this exercise might turn pleasure reading seem too much like work, I have a question for you: What is the point of reading something if you're just going to forget it?