Speed Reading

How much more do you think you’d be able to learn or accomplish in your life if only you could speed read? I’ve thought about this and have seen multiple videos and read some articles on people who can read 1500 words per minute while the average person reads around 200-250 words per minute. The former speak of how they read a book a day, sometimes multiple, and are able to adjust their reading speeds according to the material they’re reading whether it be non-fiction, fiction, for learning, or for pleasure.

This would be an amazing skill to have. Could you imagine how much quicker you’d be able to learn things and how much easier school would’ve been had you been able to read fifty pages of a novel in twenty minutes? I’d have actually read many of the books I was assigned in class instead of being forced to SparkNote them because I couldn’t read those books and still have time to complete my other assignments.

Unfortunately, traditional schooling fails students in that it teaches us how to read using “sounding it out” but then never teaches us later on to do away with that tool of learning because it actually holds people back from reading faster. Once you know how to read and what the words are supposed to sound like, you shouldn’t subvocalize anymore, which is saying the word either by mumbling or saying it in your head. If you do this, you can only read 300 words per minute max if you’re moving fast. Once you get rid of subvocalizing and regression (rereading passages because you feel you didn’t read it at all), you’ll pay more attention as your read and be able to move through at a much quicker pace. Schooling teaches you how to read but doesn’t teach much more about reading after that and students suffer because of it. Eventually, you’re expected to read at a collegiate level despite your last reading class being in sixth grade.

I’ve struggled with doing away with both of these things because I feel it’s difficult to actually understand what I’ve read without subvocalizing because I’ve only ever been taught how to read that way. I read the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading book when I was a kid but didn’t keep up with reading using the techniques they provided. It doesn’t help I also need complete silence in order to comprehend what I read. I’ve done more practicing with seeing words and not saying them and it’s a difficult task but I’m still learning. Tracing using my finger helps with avoiding regression but that also takes a lot of practice.

I plan to practice more speed reading because there are so many books I want to read, both fiction and non-fiction, but can’t get through them quick enough. I’m reading more and more now and I’m hoping I can keep up with it but when you read slow, your mind wanders and you get bored. If you read quickly, that doesn’t happen and you remain intrigued. I’ve purchased another book on speed reading and have learned some techniques which I intend to put into practice because I think the sky would be the limit once I could read a thousand words per minute. Seeing as I have an English degree but read like a high schooler, I think I have much more room to improve.

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