Ron White memory expert recommends this excerpt on speed reading taken from Wikipedia:
Basic speed-reading begins with choosing the right environment in which to read. Assuming a comfortable posture in order to make reading more enjoyable, and ensuring one has sufficient oxygen intake are also important. Having good eyesight and being able to maintain focus are other factors that can naturally increase one’s reading rate.
Skimming is a process of speed reading that involves visually searching the sentences of a page for clues to meaning. For some people, this comes naturally, and usually may not be acquired by practice. Skimming is usually seen more in adults than in children. It is conducted at a higher rate (700 words per minute and above) than normal reading for comprehension (around 200-230 wpm), and results in lower comprehension rates, especially with information-rich reading material.
Another form of skimming is that commonly employed by readers on the Web. This involves skipping over text that is less interesting or relevant. This form of reading is not new but has become increasingly prevalent due to the ease with which alternative information can be accessed online. Some of the sentences have minor information which may not be required.
Meta guiding is the visual guiding of the eye using a finger or pointer, such as a pen, in order for the eye to move faster along the length of a passage of text. It involves drawing invisible shapes on a page of text in order to broaden the visual span for speed reading. For example, an audience of customers at a speed reading seminar will be instructed to use a finger or pen to make these shapes on a page and told that this will speed up their visual cortex, increase their visual span to take in the whole line, and even imprint the information into their subconscious for later retrieval. It has also been claimed to reduce subvocalization, thereby speeding up reading. This encourages the eye to skim over the text but reduces comprehension and memory, and leads to missing important details of the text. An emphasis on viewing each word, albeit briefly, is required for this method to be effective.
Commercial speed reading programs
Speed reading programs are available through courses, both in person or software based, and manuals. While the average adult reading rate is 250 words per minute with 70% comprehension, speed reading programs typically claim that improvements to 500 words per minute or more while maintaining or improving comprehension are possible.
One point of difference between the various speed reading courses is the assertions concerning subvocalization. Some courses claim that the main obstacle to speed reading is any form of subvocalization. Although absence of subvocalization might not improve reading speed, its presence might obstruct high speed. These statements are equally valid, since there is no evidence that less subvocalisation can improve reading or even can willingly be changed at all. Other courses claim that subvocalization can be used on keywords in order to speed up learning and reading. Some proponents of speed reading claim that subvocalization can be broken down into two levels, only one of which will reduce reading speed.
Speed reading courses and books take a variety of approaches to the concept of reading comprehension. Some courses and books claim that good comprehension is essential to speed reading, and that comprehension will improve with speed reading. Special non-standardized reading comprehension questionnaires are provided in order to convince the reader of the effects of the program. Some courses advise that while comprehension is important, it should not be measured or promoted. Speed reading courses variously claim that not all information in text needs to be covered while speed reading. Some claim that speed reading involves skipping text (exactly as has been measured during studies on skimming), whereas other speed reading promoters[who?] claim that all of the text is processed, but with some or most becoming subconsciously processed. Similarly, some courses claim that text should be serially processed whereas others say that information should be processed in a more haphazard or ad hoc fashion.Reading Dynamics
Reading Dynamics is the speed reading system taught by Evelyn Wood. It was endorsed by President John F. Kennedy and other famous figures as a means of remembering the information from thousands of words read per minute.
The system centers on moving one’s hand across the page in order to maintain eye focus on the words. Like most speed reading systems, it also suggests trying to suppress the instinct of subvocalization or “thinking aloud,” instead focusing on the meaning of the words without being limited by the time it would take to mentally pronounce the syllables.
PhotoReading is a commercial product promoted by Learning Strategies Corporation with the phrase PhotoRead at 25,000 words a minute. Doubts have been raised[by whom?] about the ability of the brain to take in such a quantity of data at once. The human vision span is somewhat limited for this purpose if peripheral vision is not utilized.
The PhotoReading system was said to be developed by Paul Scheele, co-founder of Learning Strategies. A company called Subliminal Dynamics claimed that Scheele took a related seminar on subliminal processing with them, which Scheele referenced on page 4 of the first chapter in the first edition of his book. According to Scheele, PhotoReading differs from their system in at least three ways (quoted here verbatim):
- “The key is not subliminal perception. The key is the brain’s capacity for preconscious processing. I’ve spent my years developing a protocol to capture this capacity and put it reliably in the hands of our clients. (Reference the work of N.F. Dixon from England, and P. Lewicki at Tulsa University, Oklahoma).”
- “Neuro-Linguistic Programming is the basis for our techniques of putting folks in contact with the resources of the nonconscious data storage systems of the brain for activation and recall.”
- “Accelerative, brain-based teaching and learning are essential in the design and delivery of our programs, including the design of the book.”
A study by NASA titled “Preliminary Analysis of PhotoReading” states:
- These results clearly indicate that there is no benefit to using the PhotoReading technique. The extremely rapid reading rates claimed by PhotoReaders were not observed; indeed the reading rates were generally comparable to those for normal reading. Moreover, the PhotoReading expert showed an increase in reading time with the PhotoReading technique in comparison to normal reading. This increase in reading time was accompanied by a decrease in text comprehension. These results were found for two standardized tests of text comprehension and for three matched sets of expository texts.
- This article excerpt was taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_reading