Is Speed Reading a Talent, or Can It Be Learned?
Speed reading is a technique to quickly read large volumes of data without losing comprehension.
Contrary to what many people might believe, speed reading is not a talent you are blessed with but a skill you can develop at any age. You can master the speed reading skill with proper technique and adequate speed reading tools.
Whether a student or a working professional, speed reading allows you to read and comprehend more content in a shorter time and keep you ahead of the competition.
Similarly, speed reading is not a sign of higher intelligence either. Anyone can develop speed reading skills with proper guidance and the right tools.
In this article, we will understand what speed reading is and how you, too, can develop the speed reading talent.
What is speed reading?
People who can read at least 600 words per minute are said to be speed readers. While some people might exceed this minimum threshold, you can read two full pages of content in a minute at this speed.
As you can imagine, reading at such high rates has obvious advantages. You can go through significantly more material in a fraction of the time. However, reading fast is not enough to get the knowledge out of the material you read. You should also understand and comprehend the material at your reading speed.
Reading without comprehension is a huge waste of time; hence, reading quickly without losing comprehension is the real goal of speed reading.
Thus, the bigger challenge in developing speed reading skills lies in comprehending your reading material as you read it.
Thankfully, it is possible to train yourself to speed read without compromising your ability to understand and recall what you read. You can develop and hone your speed reading skills with the right tools, like the Speed Reading Foundation Course from Iris. Depending on your level of effort and dedication, you can master speed reading in as little as two weeks with this course.
Can you learn to speed read, or is it an innate talent?
Speed reading is not a talent. it is a skill you can master with the right tools and techniques. Anyone can learn how to speed read and improve their comprehension.
Like mastering any skill, speed reading also demands focus and a conscious effort. If you use the right techniques, have patience, and practice, it is possible to develop this skill rather easily.
You might have to adapt to new techniques and get rid of your old reading style if you want to master this skill. However, with practice and dedication, it is quite possible.
The speed reading skill can significantly improve your productivity as well. Iris Reading has a course on improving your productivity that can go well with your newfound speed reading skill.
How can you learn to speed read?
Learning to speed read takes dedication, patience, and practice. You will have to work on eliminating bad reading habits and inculcating good ones to improve your speed without losing comprehension.
Following are a few speed reading tips that you can easily implement.
Learn to skim the content
Skimming is a technique of quickly going through the content on an entire page to take note of all the important points and ignore the minute, unimportant details.
As you might have experienced, you might not have to read through every line to understand what is being said in a piece of text.
Here is how you can practice skimming the content. Go through the first couple of paragraphs of the text thoroughly. Once you get the gist of the content, you can focus on important parts and read only those paragraphs or sentences.
Remember that this technique is of little help if you are going through a technical document like a research paper. Skimming might cause you to skip important parts.
Learn to scan the content
If you are after a piece of specific information written in the text, you can use this technique to improve your reading speed.
When you know what you are looking for, scanning the document can quickly reveal the information without you having to hunt it down by reading every word.
You can use captions, headings, images, and other anchors within the text to focus on the information you want.
Use your finger while reading
Placing your index finger below the text and moving it as you read can significantly improve your reading speed. The method, also called hand placing, can instantly improve your reading speed.
If you recall, when you were taught to read in school, you were always asked to run your finger below the line. Unfortunately, we usually stop using this technique as we grow up.
Evelyn Wood, the pioneer of speed reading, believed in the pointer method so much that it was the first thing she taught her students who wanted to develop speed reading skills.
Divide your text into chunks
Like most people, you, too, must be reading one word at a time. As you can imagine, going through every word of the text can slow a reader down significantly. One of the key speed reading skills is the ability to read entire groups of words rather than a single word.
The goal is to make a minimum number of stops your eyes make as you read. Reading chunks of words is also great for improving your comprehension. As you get better at reading chunks of words, you will see a marked difference in how you comprehend the material.
It will take a bit of practice, patience, and dedication to master this, but most people can grasp it within a few sessions.
Stop subvocalizing and other bad reading habits
Subvocalization is the internal speech you make to yourself while reading a piece of content. It is perhaps one of the key reasons keeping you from reading faster.
Stopping subvocalizing can be a difficult task. However, if you force yourself, you can easily prevent this bad habit, but it will require a bit of dedication and conscious effort in the beginning.
Here are a few tips that might help you stop subvocalizing.
- Distract yourself by humming a melody while you read. Chewing gum also helps many to prevent subvocalizing.
- Expand eye fixation by fixing your gaze on the middle of the sentence rather than reading the text from left to right.
- Resist the urge to go back a sentence or two while reading.
These tips can help you prevent subvocalizing and improve your reading speed.
Use speed reading tools
One of the easiest ways to get started in your speed reading journey is to use speed reading tools like AccelaReader from Iris. It is a free tool that anyone can use to improve their speed reading skills.
The technique used in this tool is called Rapid Serial Visualization Presentation (RSVP). It involves placing all the words in the same spot one after the other within a text. This technique eliminates the rapid eye movement that occurs when you try to read a piece of text word-by-word.
The technique lets your eyes focus on what needs to be read rather than wandering all over the place. With the RSVP technique, you can read up to 400 words per minute instantly.
The AccelaReader software also allows you to control your reading speed and the number of words in each chunk.
A good memory can help you maximize your ability to speed read, comprehend and remember information. Check out our maximizing memory course that can boost your memory and propel you to the next level, combined with your ability to speed read.
Speed reading can transform how you gather and comprehend information from a written source. It is not a talent you are blessed with but a skill you can master with a few weeks of dedication and correct guidance.
Anyone can develop their speed reading skills and master them at any age. It is not difficult to learn this skill, but it requires a fair commitment and dedication.
Speed reading can give you the competitive edge you need in today’s fast-paced world, where more information is available.
Check out our speed reading course specifically designed for beginners if you want to be able to consume and retain much information without spending hours doing so.