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Sorry, But Speed Reading Won't Help You Read More

https://www.wired.com/2017/01/make-resolution-read-speed-reading-wont-help/

wired.com

Sorry, But Speed Reading Won't Help You Read More
The late Nora Ephron famously felt badly about her neck, but that's minor compared to how people feel about their reading. We think everyone else reads faster than we do, that we should be able to speed up, and that it would be a huge advantage if we could.

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The Shortest Answer To Faster Reading

The Shortest Answer To Faster Reading

Read. The more you read the more familiar you are with linguistic structures, contexts and content, which speeds up your reading. That’s especially true when learning new words or familiar words used in novel ways.

It is not the eyes but what we know about language, print, and the world that determines reading skill.

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The Problem With Some Speed Reading Software

Software using rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) methods claim to eliminate unnecessary eye movements, thus increasing reading speed. It presents words above the average reading speed, one at a time, at a single location on the screen.

Unfortunately, experiments show RSVP software does increase reading speed, but subjects could only sustain reading at high speeds with good comprehension for short bursts.

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The Flaw With Methods That Eliminate Regressive Eye Movements

This methods are supposed to let you read it right the first time, but regressive eye movements generate enhanced understanding beyond what could be obtained on the first pass.

Due to sentences unfolding linearly, often contrary to the messages they convey, rereading becomes necessary for proper understanding.

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The Flaw With “Take In More Information At a Time” Methods

Training the reader to process information in the visual periphery and using page scanning techniques.

This idea defies physical constraints of the visual system, like the number of cells on the retina.

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The Flaw with Methods That Eliminate Subvocalization

Provide exercises to silence that inner voice present when we read in silence as speed-reading programs claim it slows reading.

This defies research that shows that subvocalization is a sub product identifying words.

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Speed-Reading Spin-offs

There are many methods that claim to increase reading speed, going by different names, but they are all based on the same techniques and unsubstantiated facts that led to speed-reading.

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Woody Allen

 “I took a speed reading course and read ‘War and Peace’ in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.”

Woody Allen

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Fast Reading X Slow Understanding

Skimming is a guaranteed way to increase reading speed, but just like speed-reading it hurts comprehension.

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The Con Of Speed-Reading

Reading speed depends on factors such as the readers’ skills, goals and familiarity with content.

The average reader reads about 280 words per minute according to empirical evidence and calculations based on properties of eyes and texts.  Despite speed readers' claims, this value can't be increased much without sacrificing comprehension.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Speed reading

Speed reading
  • Speed reading promises to help anyone read at speeds of above 1000 words per minute with full comprehension.
  • The average college-level reader read at the speed of 200-400 words pe...

How speed reading works

Speed reading uses methods such as chunking, scanning, reducing subvocalization, and using meta guiding. For example, reading the first sentence of each paragraph can indicate if it's worth reading more or to move on. Or guiding your eye by using your finger.

Some researchers looked into speed reading and found there is a trade-off between speed and accuracy.

Speed reading and information retention

Speed reading can help you skim to content, which is useful at times. However, speed reading cannot help you read faster and retain more information.

  • Our eyes are designed only to see a tiny portion of our visual field with the precision needed to recognise a letter in a 10 to 12 point font. Everything outside that small area is blurry. The idea promoted by speed reading that we can use our peripheral vision to see whole sentences is biologically impossible.
  • While we spend most of our time reading forward, our eyes often go back to reread some text. This is the way our brain links content together. Speed reading attempts to help you read faster by showing one word at a time. This has a bad impact on overall comprehension.

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Research Backed Methods For Faster Reading

Research points to speed reading being a form of skimming, which is appropriate for short text but not for longer ones.


For long texts, reading more

Measurements Of Speed Reading And Comprehension

Although there is an academic consensus that speed-reading decreases comprehension,

On the other hand, the same can’t be said for comprehension measurement techniques, as we can process text differently according to context.

Woody Allen

Woody Allen

"I took a course in speed-reading...and was able to read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It's about Russia."

Strategies speed readers use

Strategies speed readers use
  • Skimming: quickly going through passages to find the main points.
  • Meta guiding uses a pointer, such as your index finger or a pen, to guide your eyes along the lines...

Effectiveness of Speed Reading

Regardless of which reading method you use, the evidence points towards the fact that speed comes at the sacrifice of understanding.

Depending on what you’re reading, this might not necessarily be a bad thing: If you’re trying to get through a dry piece to capture a few key points or you are going through a short piece that’s easy to understand, speed reading strategies might make sense.

Make the most of what you read

  1. Choose different reading pieces for different occasions: articles and light reads can be reserved for short periods. Books that require less focus can be listened to in audio format etc.
  2. Incorporate reading into your daily habit: put a book on your bedside table.
  3. Share your reads with others, to help you to better understand and appreciate what you read.
  4. Reflect on your reading: take notes or check out films that are based on novels (to compare interpretations).