Is Speed Reading Beneficial?

Ron White Memory Expert believes next to memory, Reading Speed can change everything for you. With a course on speed reading you can improve your speed in reading basic subjects, and be able to comprehend and retain more.

In 1959, businesswoman and educator Evelyn Wood put together a course titled Reading Dynamics. She got the idea from one of her college professors who read an 80-page paper she had prepared in a matter of seconds. She went on to research and study how some people were able to read quickly and comprehend most of what they read at an accelerated speed.

Wood’s research, and subsequent speed reading course development, has been implemented by people throughout the world, including U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter.

In her research, Wood found that during WW II the Air Force worked with a device called a tachistoscope that flashed images on a screen quickly.  The images were then reduced in size and the flashes were speeded up. Pilots were still able to recognize the images and remember them after a flash of only one-five-hundredths of a second.  They then changed the images to words, flashing up to four words at the same time. Participants were able to recognize and understand the words. The purpose was to show that, with training, the brain can be trained to record the image, even if the speed is accelerated.

What is Speed Reading?

Speed reading is a technique that allows you to take in the printed word just like you take in images while watching a movie. It allows you to read an entire magazine or book at speeds that can amount to two to ten times faster than the average rate. You learn to condition the right side of your brain to view the words instead of sounding them out on the left side. This completely changes how your brain processes information.

According to SpeedReaderX.com, the average person reads at a pace of approximately 250 words per minute. A speed reader can read from 600-1500 words per minute, or more. Their comprehension percentage is no less than that of the average reader.

Children can learn speed reading faster than adults – just as it is easier for them to learn a new language. They are open to new techniques because they haven’t gotten used to the same old ones.

 

What Speed Reading is NOT

Speed Reading is not meant for fact-filled reading or technical manuals. This type of reading requires attention to every detail. Nor is it meant to replace reading for enjoyment, where you want to relax and take in the words and images in the story.

It is not skimming – whereby you look at a page and skim over most of the words. Skimming is often inaccurate, and you miss a great deal. A speed reader actually reads every word.

Some speed reading programs have you following your finger or framing the page in order for you to focus better on the words. This has not proven to be any more successful than skimming. If you are comfortable using your fingers or framing the page – go for it though.

Who can benefit from Speed Reading?

Speed reading is perfect for children, whose attention span is short, by getting them totally engulfed in the material and allowing them to enjoy what they read before they get bored. Research has also shown that students who use speed reading have fewer behavioral problems.

Learning for children with developmental handicaps, like ADD, ADHD and Dyslexia is easier when they utilize speed reading techniques. George Stancliffe, founder of The American Speed Reading Project, has reported success in teaching speed reading to students that have ADD, ADHD, and Dyslexia.

Mr. Stancliffe said, “…many people with ADD or Dyslexia find speed reading easier than normal reading. Their brains take to the new, visual intake of words much more easily.” He continued to say, “If you have a child who may have either ADD or Dyslexia, and you want him/her to be a better reader, one of the best things that you could do is to teach him/her to speed read.”

Speed reading is also beneficial to college students who have to take in a great deal of information in a short period of time, yet retain what they read.

How Do You Learn Speed Reading?

The concept is actually quite simple. We begin to learn to read in the first grade, and read whole words by the second. Except for more words, we essentially have completed our reading lessons by the time we are eight – so we are reading on the second grade level for the rest of our lives!

The brain processes images much faster than it can process words. When a car zooms by on the television screen, do you say to yourself ‘C-A-R, car’? You see it in your mind, so you don’t have to spell it out. When you see the word on a page – car, the voice in your head repeats the word “car.” This slows the reading process. Speed reading is learning to see the words as pictures. Without the sub-vocalization you can read much faster, and still retain what you read. Essentially, you are re-teaching your brain to switch the functions of the brain from the cognitive and reading areas on the right to the visual centers on the left.

You don’t need to release the sub-vocalization altogether, you will need that function for more complex concepts, but for most reading it does not require such intense comprehension. You can utilize speed reading techniques for reviews and summaries of these topics, and it’s always a useful tool for any type of reading – used when appropriate and set aside when the need arises for deeper understanding.

Speed reading programs, such as those available at SpeedReaderX.com, or through Brain Athlete, will be beneficial to everyone at some time or another. You still will be able to relax and read at your leisure, in your normal reading pattern, but there are times when the need may arise to utilize speed reading as a tool to expedite what you have to read.

Resources:

Speed Reading: Fact or Fiction by Michael Ford – http://www.positivearticles.com/Article/Speed-Reading-Fact-or-Fiction/31156

Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachistoscope and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Wood_%28teacher%29

SpeedReaderX.com – http://www.speedreaderx.com/

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