In The Age of Skim Reading, Slow Reading is For Deep Learners
The speed-reading habit is making us lose our deep attention and focus, gradually shunning denser, more complicated content. Instead of optimizing for speed, we need to optimize for comprehension, deep understanding, and retention of information.
Deep or slow reading, when the brain is attentive, absorbing, understanding and analyzing text expands our attention span and improves concentration and learning.
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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 can help you skim to content, which is useful at times. However, speed reading cannot help you read faster and retain more information.
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
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.
"I took a course in speed-reading...and was able to read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It's about Russia."
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.