Learning How to Speed Read- Beneficial or Pointless

In modern society it is common sense to understand that if you want to, let’s say become more muscular, you would start by at least finding a gym membership or workout DvD suited to your needs. Although a rather obvious idea, common sense becomes not so common when one considers how this applies to IQ and brain power. The human brain is like a muscle. The same method used to become stronger physically can also be used to increase much-needed brain power.

One of the most popular ways to exercise your brain is to read! Books offer insight to new worlds, perspectives and realms of possibilities. Since our ancestors were confined to dark caves, the desire to write something down developed into what we Now call the ancient cave drawings. From hieroglyphics to stone tablets, to little hardback books: the only thing as old in human history as information, is the ability to read and decipher it. For what would be the point of leaving wisdom behind that no one could understand?

Books offer a large variety of benefits towards increasing brain power: Some of these include.

  • It helps to fight Alzheimer disease. People that read regularly are 3x less likely to harbor the disease.
  • Increases overall intelligence:” according to a paper from the University of California, Berkeley. Exposure to  new vocabulary not only leads to higher scores on reading tests, but also higher scores on general tests of intelligence. Plus, stronger early reading skills may mean higher intelligence later in life.”
  • Improves Focus– Its proven that mental stamina is finite within the brain. As you develop healthy reading habits, this will allow you to remain focused longer.
  • Helps went retaining information.The training of your mind will allow for better comprehension when reading.
  • Assists with insomnia. According to a study conducted in 2009 by researchers at the University of Sussex, opening a book before you go to bed can help you cope with insomnia. “(Mypeferctfit.tempur.com)

It’s no surprise that books offer a ton of brain benefits. However, books can be intimidating. We’re forced in school to read books that we either hate or are just flat-out not interested in. This creates a negative perception later in adult life. Some complain that they are boring, some prefer videos, some think its just “for nerds”, although all and all there is literally a book out there for everyone.

This leads me into my next point.

What is Speed Reading?

To combat the time-consuming, and often expensive pastime, a technique was developed to greatly shorten the amount of time it takes to digest a whole book. This 1950s method called “speed reading”, is a popular way to get you reading faster than you ever have. Speed reading is skill that allows one to increase the words comprehended per minute while reading. As the average person reads anywhere from 50 to 450 words a minute, the speed reading method offers to increase the words per minute to an astounding 900- 1400 words!

Although popular and somewhat effective, there are things to consider when looking to increase your reading speed:

“Speed reading works differently with different kinds of subject matter. Text that contains a great deal of detailed information, especially lots of facts, will take time to read through, no matter what. Of course, even here there are physical techniques that can improve your reading speed, but don’t expect to do much more than double your reading speed if you’re reading scientific texts, for example. Legal contracts, where the meaning can hinge on a turn of phrase, are even worse, though an experienced lawyer could effectively speed read many of those.”

This technique is broken up into multiple aspects that reflect different reading styles.

As you would expect, speed reading has a few different popular methods, but most fall into a couple different systems. These methods include skimming, meta guiding, Rapid Serial Visual Presentation, and others.

Notes: Although speed reading can increase reading speed, it is best effective on how to books and books that aim at teaching a specific field. Ironically, Books like Speed Reading with the Right Brain by David Butler are perfect for speed reading methods!

Speed Reading Techniques

  • Rapid Serial Visual Presentation, or RSVP is a speed reading technique that builds the reader’s ability to retain words. While the average reader can only understand and decipher one word at a time, this method allows for words to be shown on a display screen long enough for the person to read them. As one progresses through the system of continuously increasing the speed at which the word appears, decipher time needed to process each word steadily increases!
  • Skimming is that one thing your teachers in school always told you NOT to do. However, depending on the book, skimming can be very useful speed reading tip. Like Internet marketer Tai Lopez, who is credited for reading thousands of books put it in his speed reading course, most of the useful information contained in a book aimed at helping you to learn or perfect a certain skill lies within the first chapter. The idea is to focus mainly on the first and last chapter (while skimming the first sentence of every paragraph to be thorough) in order to complete his one book a week diet. Although there are studies that show when we skim we don’t retain a lot of information, Tai considers there to be one main idea or “Golden Nugget: in every book. His philosophy is finding this nugget and not being concerned with the extra “fluff” of useless information.
  • Meta Guiding is a speed reading technique that allows you to use a pointed object to guide your eyes through the material. This method is believed to decrease distraction and increase comprehension and words per minute.
  • The PX Project, a single three-hour cognitive experiment, produced an average increase in reading speed of 386 percent.” (HuffingtonPost.com)This speed reading technique emphasizes on the idea of not reading in a traditional “left-right” straight line and more in “jumps” or sporadic movements. The focus area of the average reader is about 8 inches in diameter. While closing one eye, and slowly building focus area, the system teaches one to receive the information in a snapshot rather than word for word. While progressing throughout the course, the reader will come understand his/her approximate word per minute count, an understanding of the human visualization system, and how to build a strong speed reading core.
  • The Inner voice technique refers to the method of canceling the inner voice in your head often used to real aloud, but in your mind. This technique centers around understanding that the human brain can comprehend faster than you can read each individual word. This orthodox speed reading style is geared to getting read of unnecessary” subvocalism” to maximize reading speed.

The Verdict

Although Speed Reading is a widely sought after technique, there is quite a bit of evidence pointing to its ineffectiveness regarding comprehension. Psychologist Keith Rayner details how a lot of speed reading method do allow for increase words but per minute but where they add to reading speed , they suffer a loss in comprehension.So the final verdict on speed reading is that it can greatly increase your reading speed but only on certain types of material. Mix and match some of the different styles to see what works best for you!

This concludes our post on Speed Reading!

If you have any question feel free to comment below!




4 thoughts on “Learning How to Speed Read- Beneficial or Pointless

  1. It’s not cool to speed read on this post though, right?

    Great information and something I have always wanted to learn but I’m wondering if just reading a lot in general helps speed up your reading and keeps the comprehension high.

    I find that when I am busy I tend to read faster and I’m skipping some of the smaller words which doesn’t take away from the story. What are your thoughts on this?

    1. Hey Rick ,
      I think it depends on the material. For example, fiction novels that contain a story wouldn’t be a proper book to try speed reading techniques. I do believe however that the more you exercise your brain the better it performs. Perhaps being busy is extra brain training.

  2. Great, this article is for me, I am a slow reader, what a useful read you have shared. I really love each and every point your have mentioned. A superb article , worth sharing with everyone. Great work, looking forward for more useful reads your you.

    1. Hey Sarah,
      Books are the gateway to evolving mentally in my opinoion, although some of the techniques can suffer comprehension wise, increasing reading speed can only help if done correctly!
      Thanks for the comment

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