The Sad Truth About Speed-Reading: It Doesn't Work
The fovea is a small high visual acuity area in the retina. Our eyes are seriously limited in their precision outside said area.
We can take in only a word or so at each glance, and a little bit about the words on either side.
Multiple experiments confirm that speed reading,” leads to decreased comprehension of the parts of the text that reader's eyes skip over.
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“It is unlikely that readers will be able to double or triple their reading speeds (e.g., from around 250 to 500–750 words per minute) while still being able to understand the text as well as if they read at normal speed.”
“The factor that most strongly determined reading speed was word-identification ability.”
Research shows that reading speed is more about an individual’s language skills than anything related to their eye movements. Another unsubstantiated claim, is that hearing an “inner voice” while reading slows down readers.
The only reliable way to become a faster reader is to expand your vocabulary — and the best way to do that is to read more.
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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 w...
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.
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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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.
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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."
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