A Quick Guide To Speed Reading
By: Arun G. Chitnis
You may know that speed reading is essentially a way in which one can read any given text at faster-than-usual speeds. Speed readers do this either by 'skimming' the text and capturing the highlights, or by reading certain words or phrases that capture the essence of the text.
It has been found that a normal person's average reading comprehension rate is approximately 75%. When attempting speed reading without proper instruction or guidance, people often reduce this rate to 50% or less, in the process also reducing their comprehension levels. This defeats the purpose of reading, because overall learning is compromised in the process. So, what are the basic secrets of effective speed reading?
Before we go into that, let it be said that this mode of absorbing information has both its advocates and detractors. Those in favor state that a person can increase his or her IQ as well as memory in the process of speed reading. Those against it say that because reading comprehension levels below 50% serve no purpose, so it's not the best way of reading and learning.
The ability to draw out details in speed reading is certainly less than in normal reading, which means that the reader may not be able to process information to an optimum extent. Here are some handy tips on effectively using this technique:
1. It is best to preview the material before beginning, so that one gets a fair concept of the topic at hand. The best way to scan the material is to take in the title, paragraph heading and overall length of the material.
2. Once the preview is complete, the speed reader needs to decide how to tackle reading the material. Many prefer to spend a longer time on certain key paragraphs.
3. Zeroing in keywords is very helpful, since one does not have to concentrate on reading every word. The idea is to concentrate on these keywords and skip over words such as 'the'.
4. The common practice of re-reading words must be eliminated in speed reading. The art of 'skimming' text can only be achieved with plenty of practice; however, once it is mastered, one can achieve reading speeds of up to 700 words per minute, as opposed to the normal reading rate of around 200-250 words per minute.
Aside from the debates about this technique, one cannot doubt that it has some pertinent uses, which explains why so many people spend a lot of money on speed reading courses.