Why Speed Read?
It would be great to be able to read books in half the time it takes to read them now, while being able to comprehend and retain all the information in them. We all have a list of books we’d like to read and the only thing that’s stopping us is finding the time to fit them all in.
That’s why I became interested in speed reading and after some research, I found some very interesting tools to increase reading speeds without losing any comprehension of the text.
First, a bit of history:
A Tachistoscope is a machine that flashes an image in front of you for a fraction of a second. Studies were done to see if images could be identified and at which speed they became unrecognizable. It was found that images that flashed across the screen and were only visible for 2ms (one five-hundredth of a second) were identifiable.
This is relevant when it comes to speed reading because there have been a slew of apps released which claim to increase reading speeds by using this technique. Test your reading speed here.
Speed Reading Methods
This isn’t technically speed reading as the technique involves skipping certain parts of the text and recognizing which parts can be skipped, therefore you are missing certain parts of the text. Although its considered a speed reading method, skimming is not very effective even though some people are using it to get to an average 700 words per minute reading speeds.
This is one of the older techniques and it involves using a pen or your finger to scroll across the text as you read. One of the reasons that reading takes so long is that we can only read as fast as we can say the word in our heads. As recently as the Victorian era, most reading was done aloud and we still do it when we’re reading by ourselves (known as sub-vocalization). This is one of the main reasons our reading is slower than it could be, and by using your finger to move across the text, you are using your comprehension speed which is much faster that your oral reading ability.
Keys To Speed Reading
Now you know more about how speed reading works, its time to learn how you can improve your reading speeds.
– By using the free software available online, and the range of apps for Android and iOS, you can practice as often as possible, slowly increasing your reading speed from the average of 200-400 words per minute to as high as 400-500 or even higher.
– Choose your speed reading literature carefully. Focus on reading easier material at first until you get used to the new reading speed and increase your level of comprehension.
– Use a pointer when you’re reading and constantly push your reading speed until you’re at a comfortable level. It will seem difficult at first and you will only improve as much as you can endure.
– Make a note of your current reading speed and track your progress as you develop. As soon as you start to see a marked improvement, it will become addictive and your improvements will increase drastically.
-There are other techniques, such as reading multiple lines simultaneously, but they have been shown to reduce comprehension to between 50-60%. A dramatic loss and none of you are trying to be the worlds fastest reader.
Some of you may prefer to continue to read a at the level you’re currently reading, but a few minutes of practice each day on your way to work using an app on your phone will gradually improve your reading speed without the need of a disciplined speed reading regimen. Any time spent practicing your reading speed is beneficial, because the more you read, the more benefits we get.