Speed reading is a very popular subject and the explanation behind that may lay in our obsession with speed, whether we talk about speeding the car on the highway or finishing any job as fast as we can.
We’re trying to have everything fast, and everything these days is happening at high speed, in all areas of our life: eating, reading, driving or downloading something off the internet.
The ABC of speed reading
There are two fundamental methods when it comes to speed reading, each of them depending upon the view of the individual or organization that is involved.
Speed reading silences sub vocalization, thus giving you higher speed when reading. On the other hand, some think that speed reading is just a more developed form of skimming. In case you don’t know by now, skimming happens when you’re reading fast a material only to get to the more important parts. Even the skimming proponents do admit though that skimming comes with a big sacrifice: comprehension of what you’re reading.
There are many ways to develop speed reading abilities and once you master speed reading you’re able to go from a 200-300 words per minute to an impressive speed of 800words per minute. Unfortunately, there is little proof of comprehension actually happening, not to talk about how durable the comprehension is either.
Just like any other skill, you need to practice your speed reading skills all the time and you may notice a slide back in your rate of wpm when not practicing. Your speed doesn’t go as low as in the starting point, though. What’s great about speed reading skills though is that once you acquired them, even if you’re not doing your exercises on regular basics, you’re still going to be faster than in the beginning. If you started from a 200wpm rate, even without any exercises, you may still maintain a 350-400wpm rate, which is quite an accomplishment.
Do you get smarter when reading faster?
What speed reading ended up giving us is to divide the world into two categories: the digital and the material readers, that is the ones who use electronic readers and the other ones who actually read books. The latter ones are taking everything slower and enjoy a book while reading, whereas the digital readers are always seeing reading as a completion, a contest for who’s reading faster.
If you’re reading fast and you also trained yourself to speed read, you may have a big disappointment as at the end of your competition there is no prize waiting for you. You may feel like being smarter, but you may also look arrogant as well.
There are still so many out there that like reading books and not skimming and they also save the books from fading away. They keep the books around, whereas the fast readers brag in town about the number of books of read. But, did they really understand them?
Here are some advantages of speed reading to consider
Trying to take a decision on whether you should start learning to speed read isn’t easy at all and you need to know that are always good things and bad things about speed reading.
Sure, when you’re fast reading, you’re finishing more books faster and you get to read so many more, which keeps you always ahead of your reading list. Even if you’re only skimming, you’re still going to be able to know the essential details of the multiple books you speed read. Additionally, you’re going to become the center of the attention of your book club, for sure.
Another good thing when it comes to speed reading is that the more books you’re reading, the more recommendations you can offer and get more fans, in case you’re streaming.
Let’s not forget that speed reading also gives you the chance to go through books outside your comfort zone as you have more time and a higher desire to enrich your knowledge.
Even though you don’t see it, speed reading can make a difference in your budget too. Imagine yourself in a library and going through the first chapters. You can definitely make an idea about liking or not the book and buying it or not.
Speed reading the books you like gives you more time for other hobbies and activities, including some less-fun chores or a few deadlines from work.
If you like the really isolate yourself when reading a book, it’s a bit challenging when you read a book on a train or a bus. With speed reading though, it’s easier for you to concentrate as you’re not going for the 100% comprehension anyway.
There are many ways to do speed reading and one of them, even though it’s pretty low-tech, is running your finger under the words really fast and read at the same pace of your finger movement. This method is really increasing your reading, just that you know.
Let’s not forget about the speed-reading tools from the mobile devices and the Internet that give you the chance to use technology. In cases like this, you have to place your text into the device and it’s going to flash up the words in fast succession. Your eyes and mind see the words as they are flashing up, but your mind is actually putting them into sentences, making you speed read.
Many recommend speed reading especially for research and not as much for reading in general. You may skim through a lot of text and only focus on the parts that really interest you. You continue by reading only the parts that you’re going to use. you may also use speed reading when you’re reading a “fluff” book and you just want to go to the good parts.
Are there any downsides of speed reading?
Our ideas about the disadvantages while speed reading may not have the same meaning to you and it’s important to realize that you have the final word when it comes to learning/or not speed reading.
An interesting fact about speed reading is, if you’re a beginner or a very experienced one (too experienced, if you ask us), the risk of skimming and not reading is quite high. Chances are that you’re going to skip some fundamental details, especially if you do like the twists in your books.
When you’re skimming, you may skip the best parts, the funny moments so you’re not going to be able to share the same emotions as a manual reader. It may happen that everyone is talking about some interesting part that you missed and you find yourself in the position of…getting quiet as you know nothing about that part. it’s not impossible to feel left out and there are many with misconceptions about the speed readers too.
Speed reading is mainly about going through the pages with your eyes and getting only the parts that count to you. It relates a lot to getting a general idea about what a text is really about, which is why you may miss some of the important, but hidden details within your text.
One thing is sure: when you’re speed reading, you’re not looking that great in public. No matter your technique, speed reading always looks a bit weird.
If you’re a big fan of SF, using speed reading isn’t the best idea as you may not catch the smaller and subtler details. Let’s not forget the part when an author exaggerates some details and this may appear interesting when you’re skimming, which may give you the wrong idea about the whole theme.
Speed reading is fun in many ways but it’s quite impossible to look away and still remain on track. It’s very difficult to look away and to come back at the same point when speed reading, which makes you understand harder (or not at all) what you were reading in the first place.
The fair conclusion
Practice makes perfect in everything. Don’t go over the top from the very beginning and try speed-reading a few times with running your finger across the lines.
The more you practice like that, the better you’re going to get and you may step up your game with some online tools to see if you have a chance into getting an efficient speed-reader. If you feel it’s too much for you, you may try to stick to speed-reading by skimming pages and see for yourself how much you’re actually memorizing.