Why speed reading is important?

During this lockdown, I found, not only our son but our daughter also, most of the time busy with mobiles. I do not know what they see but they seemed busy.

I tried my best to motivate them to utilize times with something productive works or when there is nothing to do, I asked them to read as many books as possible.

But, I am surprised to find that they are not at all interested to read books.

They simply do not find the passion, the kick in reading they find missing!

It seemed reading is the last thing they want to do. I think, most young boys and girls are like that. Even, adults also. Everyone is busy with mobiles. WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, etc.

But as I am an avid reader and I know it well how books can do in one’s life. Reading is very relaxing in general. It can help reduce stress because it gets your mind off worries and other thoughts that are not healthy nor beneficial I thought  why not try it in a different way. If our children’s reading speed can be increased to a great extent, then, things will be easier to motivate them to read more and more books to see how the speed of their reading is.

( For more knowledge, click : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_reading )

In 2007, shortly after the final volume in the Harry Potter series was released, a woman named Anne Jones read all 784 pages in exactly 47 minutes. To prove that she’d actually read it, Jones — who has won the World Championship Speed Reading Competition six times — summarized the major plot points to a group of reporters. They were satisfied with her impromptu book report, which suggests Jones had successfully read the book at 4,200 words per minute.

Warren Buffett spends five to six hours a day reading five newspapers and 500 pages of corporate reports. Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. Mark Zuckerberg aimed to read at least one book every two weeks. Elon Musk grew up reading two books a day, according to his brother.

Then only I realized how important it is to learn speed reading.

One idea comes, I purchased not only one book titled The Speed Reading Book by Tony Buzan. I also purchased Breakthrough Rapid Reading by Peter Kump, Train Your Brain For Success: Read Smarter, Remember More, and Break Your Own Records by Roger Seip; Speed Reading with the Right Brain: Learn to Read Ideas Instead of Just Words by David Butler. And, also, Speed Reading with the Right Brain: Learn to Read Ideas Instead of Just Words by David Butler.

Things started to change not only in my kids but also in me.

Learning speed read is important for everyone.

As in this digital era, we are bombarded with information and we have to do multi-tasking to cope with the race, Just imagine, how feel-good one has if we can read much faster than usual speed, which is generally slow and consumes time.

For your kind information, The average reading speed of a normal human being between 200 to 400 words per minute, with speed reading this capacity could be doubled in most cases to up to 600 words per minute with full comprehension.

Do you know, Howard Berg, the fastest reader in the world? “The Guinness World Record Book” recognized Berg in 1990 for his ability to read more than 25,000 words per minute and write more than 100 words per minute.

Can you imagine?

Howard has been featured on over 1,100 radio and television shows.

Though some people say that speed reading is a hype, a myth if you see the world history of a speed reader, you will be amazed to find personality like Economist Stuart Mill could read 37,000 wpm, writer Oscar Wilde (an Irish poet and playwright. ) could read a paper at a glance, and even Ferdinand Marcos ( tent president of Philippines) was said to speed-read at a rate of 8,000 wpm.

   

Going a step further, Maria Teresa Calderon a Filipina teenager could read half a book or more by the time most of the people read the label on a cereal box!

               

In July of 1968, Calderon, became an international sensation when her phenomenal feat was reported by the Associated Press of the U.S.

She was an extraordinary personality in case of speed read that in a  Northwestern University’s Rapid Reading class under the guidance of  Dr. Florence Schale, she had read a three-page college-level essay containing 3,135 words in 3.5 seconds—a reading rate of more than 50,000 words per minute (wpm), with a remarkable 100% comprehension!

Calderon’s extraordinary achievement was featured in the Encyclopedia Britannica,  Guinness Records, and a significant number of newspapers,  education journals, and research studies around the globe.  She later admitted that her reading prowess was a ‘gift.’

Whereas an average person reads 250 wpm, with 70% comprehension!!.

In tests after tests, Calderon proved her amazing aptitude.  Reading tests were administered by the University of Minnesota, the University of Illinois, Purdue University, and Northwestern University. To everyone’s awe, Calderon reset the record books with her reading speed of 80,000 words per minute with 100 percent comprehension. Her world record still stands today.

While telling these facts of the world record holders, my kids are still not convinced and motivated to learn speed reading. So, the only option remains to tell them more, why speed reading is so important being a student!

If you want to know the history of the world speed reading program, you will find It was not until the late 1950s that a portable, reliable, and convenient device was developed as a tool for increasing reading speed. Evelyn Wood,  a researcher, and a schoolteacher was committed to understanding why some people were naturally faster at reading and tried to force herself to read very quickly. In 1958, while brushing off the pages of a book she had thrown down in despair, she discovered that the sweeping motion of her hand across the page caught the attention of her eyes, and helped them move more smoothly across the page. She then used the hand as a pacer. Wood first taught the method at the University of Utah, before launching it to the public as Evelyn Wood’s Reading Dynamics in Washington DC in 1959.

Other than saving time and comprehension,  the most important reason to learn speed reading is it helps with concentration and improves memory as well as instills confidence and adds to your knowledge. It improves problem-solving skills, encourages innovation, and helps to develop leadership qualities.

Speed reading empowers you in your life and career. It enhances the ability to engage socially, as a speed reader reads a lot more than an average reader. You will be up to date on the news and views and has a lot more to add to your overall quality of life.

When one knows the following hidden benefits of Speed Reading, I think, most of us will give it a try to learn speed reading.

 ♦        Increased FocusWho does not want focus and concentration in life?

Speed Reading trains the brain to become more focused and improves brain capacity. When you try to read fast, the brain muscle flexes and it improves the ability to focus.

  • Comprehensive ability-As speed reading will give lots of reading exposure, it is natural that the comprehension ability gets improved significantly, and absorbing the matter becomes much easier.

The study says that even a small amount of reading daily can help in improving comprehension of  10-20%        within a     month.

  • Memory Enhancement -As brain muscles flex due to speed read, memory power grows automatically. In today’s so fast and technology burden life, memory is the ultimate goal without which dementia as well as Alzheimer may develop.
  • Personality will be world-class– Just imagine once you can speed read, where will be your confidence and this will definitely groom your personality to make you a more intelligent persona.
  • More Opportunities ?? Of course. Once you speed read, people and society will recognize you as an intelligent human being and lots of doors with the right opportunities opens in front of you and you can be confident about your abilities.
  • Reduced Stress ?? Definitely. Speed Readers experience less fatigue as they are able to grasp things fast.
  • Other benefits of speed readings are:

  • Innovation-With speed reading techniques and high comprehension absorbing the data becomes easier.
  1. Vocabulary-With high speed of reading you can go through the books and reading materials faster increasing the exposure to the words in the language.
  2. Problem-solving skills-Lots of the problem on the personal or professional front is easy to tackle once you have more knowledge and experience through more and more reading.
  3. Reading Fluency-With speed Reading fluency improves and you are able to express or communicate yourself in a clear and concise way.
  4. Decision Making-Most of the decision-makers in any industry has to go through a tremendous amount of data before arriving at a particular conclusion.
  5. Increased earnings– Obviously once you grow yourself to a better and confident person and provide more value to the organization you are serving there is a high chance that you will be rewarded for your efforts.
  6. An Eagle’s Eye -With speed reading, it will help you to develop an eagle’s eye for detail and more sophistication surrounding you which opens many opportunities.

Even after explaining this importance, our two kids are still a bit skeptical of how it can be read fast as we already know reading. But once you use techniques and practice, definitely you can speed read.

As per reading is concerned, what we most people do you know?  Three processes involved.

Most common reading habit :

  1. Fixation: We will look at a word or a group of words and register it into their mind, this is called fixation,
  2. Saccade: a rapid irregular movement of the eye as it changes focus moving from one point to another
  3. Comprehension: When one comes to the end of the sentence or paragraph and then they pause to comprehend what they have just read.

These Fixation, saccade, and comprehension are time-consuming

But speed read training program, you can greatly enhance your reading capacity by training your mind to reduce the amount of time needed for fixation, training your eye saccade faster, and forcing your mind to increase its ability to comprehend.

The technique involved in Speed read:

Skimming
A person skims when he or she quickly reads through sentences in an effort to pick out clues to find the meaning. The problem with skimming is that there is a low comprehension, so it is not the best option for certain types of reading.

Chunking
Chunking involves splitting information into “chunks” of information so it is easier to read and understand.

Meta guiding
Meta guiding is when you guide your eyes using a finger or a pointer as you read. This forces your eyes to move faster along the length of the passage. You are drawing invisible shapes on the page you are reading to help broaden the visual span to help you read faster.

Some of these methods are better depending on your purpose for reading. For example, if you are studying for an exam, you will want to read fast and comprehend what it is you are reading, so chunking and meta guiding will work best.

The fastest readers use methods that basically involve looking for keywords that contain the essence of writing.

The keywords may be scattered all over a paragraph, so they create a scatter pattern that conveys the meaning of the text to the reader.

The average eye span is about 3 – 5 words both horizontally and vertically.

As soon as the eye sees a word the brain starts the process of comprehending.

Our brain’s capacity to fill in the details is great and this is what speed reading training teaches you to do, to pick out the most important parts and let the mind fill in the gaps for full comprehension.

Rapid Serial Visual Presentation: It is more popularly referred to as RSVP, is quickly going through a text to assess its content and value to you, as you do when riffling through a book that you may find of interest in a library or a magazine in a bookstore. It involves going through a text without any detectable pause. Typically, there is a pause of 10 milliseconds or less, between words or images. RSVP is used in many apps to train the eye to read quickly and to stop regression. It also helps in eliminating subvocalization and enhances concentration. This is the method that is most conducive for electronic media and is used by many of the speed reading apps available on the internet.

Another very popular method is SQ3R:

This method of speed reading that is highly conducive for textbook reading for students. It is a stepwise method that teaches you the skills of reading and understands fast. The method involves five distinct steps which are:

  1. Survey: This involves looking over the text to see what it is about, how it is structured, pay attention to the headings and subheading if there are any images charts or other graphical elements examine them and the captions underneath. Go over the summary, if there is one available, and read the introduction and conclusion of the text.
  2. Question: This step requires that you form questions about the text in your mind while you are surveying it. Do this especially with ideas or concepts that you require exploring within the text. Read all the questions that accompany the text, ask yourself what you know about the subject and what the lecturer said about it in class.
  3. Read: Read the text. While reading tries finding answers to the questions that you had in the previous step. Answer the questions that accompany the text. When you come to a graphic, study it carefully, and read the caption again. Notice the formatting of the text, pay attention to the bold, underlined, or italicized text. Reduce your speed for difficult areas, and reread if there is something that is not clear. Read one section at a time.
  4. Recite: Once you have read a section, recite it. Try in your own words, and answer your own questions. Take notes and write them down, highlight parts of the text that you think is important.
  5. Review: Take another survey of the text, and look over your answers, notes, etc.

The overall reading speed enhanced by survey and question parts of this strategy. If there is a doubt or confusion, highlighting helps to draw your attention to it.

VERY VERY IMPORTANT FOR SPEED READING :

When you begin training, one of the first thing you have to train yourself to do is to break the old habits of reading and inculcate new ones.

This is normally done through training to avoid subvocalization, which is reading each word aloud in your mind. This is the way we are all taught to read while growing up. It is a useful skill if you wish to memorize or remember concepts but reduces your reading speed.

Solution ??

Break the habit.

Other habits that you may need to break are reading word for word, going back to a word you have already read, lack of concentration, and reading linearly.

The clue to learning any skill is practice.

with speed reading too, you need to practice in order to succeed. The more you practice, the better you get, and the faster you can read.

When you first begin speed reading, use simple text or one that you are familiar with to practice your skills. Look for the text that is appropriate for speed reading, these could include legal reports, white papers, emails, etc.

Better to go through the skills and techniques already mentioned in the article to your reading material, scan, skim, use a pointer and highlight what is important.

Don’t forget. Before you begin speed reading, it would be a good idea to measure your current reading speed so you can mark your progress.

Then, let’s go to a roller coaster drive …….

  • Reading Warm-Ups: Before you start speed reading it is advisable to read something light, so you are prepared.
  • Remove any distractions: Find a quiet area where you will not be disturbed while you read.
  • Scanning the text: Scan the text using the techniques discussed earlier.
  • Reading the beginning and end of the paragraphs: Read the first sentence and the last sentence of the text to get the gist of it.
  • Prevent Subvocalization: Do not speak the words in your mind as you read.
  • Use a pointer: Use something to guide your eyes.
  • No multitasking: Do not try to do anything else while you are reading, this will reduce your speed. Focus on your reading alone.
  • Use a Speed reading aid or take a class: It is a good idea to use an aid that will help you train yourself in speed reading.
  • Avoid highlighting: Some experts feel that you should not highlight the text as it encourages reading the same text twice and not remembering or understanding it at all.
  • Set a time of the day: Read at one particular time each day. This will encourage you to form a routine and prepare you for speed reading.
  • Getting rid of bad reading habits: Get rid of all the bad reading habits as discussed earlier.
  • Eye Movement skills: Learn to train your eyes to make shorter and fewer eye stops while reading. Learn peripheral reading skills.
  • Paced Reading: Set a time goal for yourself to finish reading a book or an assignment. Try and keep to your schedule as much as possible.
  • Take breaks: If you have long hours of reading to do, make sure you take frequent breaks in between; for example, take a five-minute break every hour or so.
  • Eye Training Tools: Play games that help to train your eyes in moving more efficiently.

There are also several software available for speed reading. This software is designed for various age levels starting from kindergarten and going up to college level. They offer beginner, intermediate and advanced stages.

As most of us have a smart device, then training yourself to speed reading is as easy as downloading and installing an app on your mobile. Once you have installed it, you can use it to train yourself at your convenience and in your own time. There are hundreds of apps available on the net for the three main platforms of iOS, Android, and Windows.

Below is a list of some of the best apps available at present.

  • Spreeder: This app is a part of the 7Speeed Reading software. It is available for all platforms and is free. You can paste your own text and set your own pace. You can play, pause, and restart the app.
  • Rapid Reader(iOS): This is an app that is a part of Spritz and allows users to download web content and speed read it on their smart devices. This app uses RSVP technique. It has 40-speed settings that range between 250 – 1000 words per minute.
  • QuickReader(iOS): This is an e-reader and a speed reader combined into one powerful app. It allows you to download and read e-books, import articles, webpages, etc. it incorporates speed reading techniques to improve your speed over time. It has reading tests and allows practice sessions. There are 6 versions to choose from. QuickReader Lite is the free version.
  • Velocity(iOS): This is a paid app and cost $2.99. It supports multiple languages and uses RSVP technique. It can grab text from a variety of internet sources.
  • Syllable(iOS): This is a paid app and costs $2.99. It has many of the same features as Velocity.
  • ReadQuick(iOS): Priced at $9.99, ReadQuick uses the RSVP technique to teach speed reading. The speed can be configured, there is a feature that allows you to track your progress, can integrate your reading list so you can read it easily.
  • OutRead(iOS): Another app for the iOS platform. Teaches you speed reading by using the meta guide technique. It highlights the word in the text thus helping to guide your eye. It can integrate reading material from other software. It is priced at $4.99 in the app store.
  • Reading Trainer: This is a multi-platform app and is available for Android, iPad, iPhone as well as Windows Phone. It is priced between $2.49 – $4.99 depending upon the platform. This app has multi-language support and several built-in exercises to improve reading speed.
  • A Faster Reader(Android): This is a free app for Android platform. It uses the RSVP method to enhance reading and comprehension skills.
  • Eyercize: This is an app that uses the meta guide process to train you to speed read. You can alter the speed from 100 to a whopping 5000 words per minute. The words can be displayed as single words or as groups of words adjustable from 1 – 17words per group.
  • Spritz: This is also a RSVP reader for Android. You can adjust the speed at which the words are displayed. The range is from 100 wpm to 750 wpm.
  • Fastr: This is an app for iOS platform and devices. It is available for $2.99 on the iTunes app store. It allows you to read e-books and is similar to RapidReading.

Even after giving a thorough knowledge to our two kids and after the purchase of so many books as mentioned earlier, what I observed that after three or four days try or practice as mentioned in different books, they got distracted and stop practicing.

So, recently I purchased one software from spreader as mentioned above which is 7-speed reading and the whole game plan changed. Though there is so much free software are available in the market, but, after going a bit deeper, it is found that nothing free is good.

If one is really serious to learn something, then, a little bit of investment is a must. So, after the purchase of software, what we found most practical is, there are so many practicing tools, which is very engaging and it will keep one away from practicing from books. Once I purchased this software only by investing Rs.997.00,  it seems our kids are getting into it to really learn speed reading. This software with this minimum investment, you can install in a 5-different PC.

To give a try, you can click here: https://www.ereflect.com/#a_aid=jufialqab

For further knowledge about this 7-speed reading software, you can read clicking here.

https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/7-speed-reading-review

SPEED READING IS ACTIVE MEDITATION :

When you read faster, you will be even more absorbed into the material. This causes you to focus predominantly on the information you are reading. This is also known as active-meditation. Active-meditation is a meditative state achieved by doing an activity. This state can release tension and increase emotional well-being.

Speed Reading to me is not just about reading faster. You can think of it as an exercise. As with your muscles, if you exercise them regularly, you will get stronger. If you exercise your brain, it will get stronger as well.

Being an Indian, I am feeling proud of what the NOP World Culture Score Index says.

You know, as per the survey,  India is the country that reads the most, with over 10 hours per week.

Thailand and China are second and third, with 9.24 and 8 hours per week respectively.

So, why not we double the figure by learning speed read.

Now, a world championship od speed reading takes place, where, we can join by clicking here

http://www.speed-readingchampionships.com/?page_id=22

Who knows, next champion of speed reading is among us from India.

-End-

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19 Comments

  1. Mir Sir
    I must say I am an ardent follower of books and the speed reading technique. I fullly recommend everyone that the world is talkign a lot about BOOKS and READING but I believe the first step should be to how to read.
    While I was going through your article, I was taken back to my 7th class summer holiday when my Dad took a wekk traning from the book ‘How to read better and faster’ by Norman Lewis. The excellent outcome I got is the beautiful concept of SKIMMING which I am following till then.
    It is often said that reading 10 books with skimming is way better than reading one book with full concentration. I firmly belive that life is too short to spend it reading few books when there is an opportunity to read millions of books.
    I have never seen such a well-researched and drafted blog focussed on ‘speed reading’. I learnt a lot of things just by reading this small piece.
    You deserve my highest appreciation for writing this marvellous piece, Sir!
    Thanks and keep writing, Sir!
    (PS – You never know how instantly yours WORDS may change someone’s life unknowingly.)

    1. Thank you so much Vimanyu. It really feels good moment that you realized to speed read to read more and more books which indicates you are a book lover which is rare in today’s digital era. Hope, this way, we can spread the message of reading books to entire world!

  2. Thank you for such a detailed article…I will try using some app to speed up my reading..I can read 350-400 WPM, and I fall under the average reader category. I have to pull up my socks… Thank you for inspiring

    I also want to thank @Vimayu for leaving no stones unturned in helping our book club, and also for sharing such a treasure house

    1. FEELING HUMBLED THAT YOU GOT INSPIRED.

    2. Thank you and feel nice that it inspired you to take up speed read courses/Apps.

  3. It is really worth reading content. The way you synchronise the topic is really awesome.. The covered topic has all the potential to motivate every age group to be more productive for themselves…

    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH

    2. Thank you so much for such wonderful feedback

  4. Its really wonderful article Mir sir.. I always focus on every line and words but this article made realize the importance of reading speedily. Keep inspiring us.

    1. Thank you so much. If it inspires you, I think, that is my success!

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