Speeding Myths and Facts

By: Magda Santos

Speed Reading is one of those subjects that is spun to sound like a tonic that will solve all your educational ills and grow hair on your bald head for 2 easy payments of $19.99 each. At times it sounds like a medicine show.

Some write about how it’s a hoax. Others claim it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

Well, in my experience, of teaching adults and children for 24 years, it’s a little bit of both. It’s a hoax if you expect to learn to speed read, to comprehend and to keep the new skills you learn all in a mere16 minutes. It’s a hoax if you’re looking for a quick fix to a reading deficit, like dyslexia or ADD. And it’s a hoax if you are a “traditional" reader happy with your average reading speed and are not a visual learner.

It’s not a hoax if your learning style is visual, for example. There are three learning styles. They are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. If you are a visual learner you will take to speed reading techniques with ease and will get a lot out of the effort you put into it. And it takes effort. It takes practice. It takes time to master and keep the skills you learn. And it’s not a hoax if you’re a young student between the ages of 8 and 12.

As in most things young students grasp these skills easily and keep them far longer than us older folks.

Speed Reading is also great for strengthening your reading skills, in particular, fluency and comprehension. Many people that think of themselves as “slow readers," under 200 words a minute, find that the skills they practice with speed reading help them read with more confidence. It allows them to move over the page and look for meaning without stopping at every word and hearing it in their heads clearly pronounced before they go on to the next word.

Speed Reading by nature forces your mind to move over the page and the author’s ideas with such speed that your mind doesn’t have time to become bored. If you have ADD like I do, it’s a godsend to speed read. Traditional reading is so boring I want to weep.

Can you double your reading speed in 16 minutes? Yes. But what’s the point of reading fast if you don’t know what you’ve read? And to do both you just might have to spend some time slowing down and getting used to this new skill. My advice is to take your time and to grow into higher speeds. Don’t rush. The average person reads at about 250 to 300 words a minute. If you work up to 700 wpm you are more than doubling your speed. Make sure your comprehension is at least 90%. Then increase your speed a little more until you reach your goal.

Is speed reading worth the trouble? Yes. Reading is a great tool and speed reading is a great master tool to get you reading and working on new ideas and projects inspired by others. It’s also a gift of adventure, romance, and philosophy. Getting to read more in this fast paced world will open a window to the wonders of the universe. Okay, maybe that’s too far out, but it is a great way to learn more about what you love and the work you do.

Someone once said, “If you read two new books a week you are way ahead of the competition and will develop into an expert in your field. No one else is reading two books a week on the subject."

Speed reading is a master tool especially made for those that have a learning style that is non-linear, open to visual prompts, and ambitious. Download a speed reading program today and see if it fits your learning style.

Self Improvement and Motivation
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