Is Speed Reading Scientifically Proven? | Iris Reading
Is Speed Reading Scientifically Proven?

Is Speed Reading Scientifically Proven?

Is Speed Reading Scientifically Proven?

Speed reading is a scientifically proven way to increase your reading pace. The average person can read about 200-250 words per minute (wpm). However, super speed reading (three times more or 1000wpm) trades off excellent reading comprehension and accuracy.

You must know what you can go through at a faster pace. That depends on linguistic skills and the technicality of the text. You cannot speed read a Physics book, for example, or a classic literature book. 

Predictability of text is the core of speed reading, and general knowledge of the text you choose to speed read is necessary.

Executives, students, researchers, and professionals like lawyers and doctors must read a lot. Avid readers may be curious how far they can stretch their reading and master retention.

If you fall in any of these categories, keep reading. This post will educate you on what science has to say about speed reading.

You’ll know if you can learn speed reading, misconceptions about speed reading, and speed reading with comprehension (retention). 

You’ll also read about speed reading techniques and what you can do to improve your speed reading skills.

What science has to say about speed reading

Science demonstrates that the main barrier in speed reading is not your vision but the capacity to recognize words and understand how they work together to form coherent sentences.

When you skim or speed read, you use your peripheral vision to take in a wide swath of text. 

The science of skimming backs speed reading. Speed reading improves reading comprehension, especially if it is layered reading. 

Still, the only way to read more rapidly while preserving understanding is to practice reading and improve your language skills ( (e.g., through increased vocabulary).  

Some people generally read faster than others because their visual dictionary is expansive. 

Their brains hold more words, have a better working memory, and process information faster. So, you should take this maximizing memory course by Iris Reading to improve your reading speed.

Elizabeth Schotter and like-minded authors discuss how eye fixations and saccades limit speed reading. Only the eye fovea can take in lots of visual text. Our eyes also tend to go back to previously-read sentences to try and understand better.

You can train your eye to read chunks of words and your brain to take in more, increasing neuroplasticity.

Their study has shown that speed reading training improves reading comprehension. Students exposed to reading material before and after training increased their average reading speed and reading comprehension twofold. 

Can people really learn to speed read?

You can learn the speed reading skill and master it with practice. Scientific research supports the claim that speed reading is an effective way to read.

The core of the science of speed reading is that the human brain can process information much faster than we can read it. Visual reading is the fastest type of reading. When we read, our eyes take in the information and send it to our brains, where it is processed. 

We also understand and remember information better when we read at a faster pace. 

When we hear words – auditory reading – our brains still record the words, but at a slower pace. 

Subvocalization is the slowest type of reading for comprehension and is highly discouraged by speed reading trainers because it slows you down. When you sub-vocalize, you sound words internally as you read.

Sometimes it’s important to obtain a quick grasp of the subject while highlighting some crucial points that need more consideration, and the speed reading skill helps. Speed-reading systems appear to train users to do that more quickly.

The benefits of speed reading are unparalleled. You’ll improve your memory and consequently get better at creative thinking and innovation.

You’ll improve problem-solving skills since your brain can speedily retrieve old knowledge and similar past occurrences to aid decision-making. 

What can you do to improve your speed reading skills?

Here are some things you can do to improve your speed reading skills. 

Find a quiet place to practice 

Turn off any distractions and set a timer for yourself. Start by reading a few pages of a book or article at your normal pace. Once you reach the end of the page, start reading again, but this time try to go a little faster. 

Repeat this process until you can finish the same pages within a shorter time.

Use a speed reading tool

AccelaReader is a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) tool that flashes a single word or a chunk of words depending on the settings and helps to improve reading speed. 

Your eyes get used to seeing words move faster because the software increases peripheral vision and reduces saccades.

You can enlarge the font, change the reading speed (wpm), and set the tool to flash one word or a group of words.

Take a speed reading foundation course

Taking a speed reading course could get you instant results. You can choose to access condensed training or get frustrated trying to find scattered speed reading information and free exercise online.

Improve your vocabulary

Enrich your visual dictionary by reading more and understanding new words. Set aside at least one hour daily to keep your brain stimulated.

Be consistent in reading

Reading a lot exercises your brain. Additionally, familiarity with text makes it easy to read through fast. The language is simplified, and the ability to predict word flow is natural. 

Consistent speed reading trains your brain, and practice makes perfect.

Speed reading techniques 

You can use many speed reading techniques to increase your reading speed. The primary three are skimming, scanning, and meta guiding. 

The reading activities are:

  • Using a finger or a pen to guide your eyes. Using a marker or pen keeps you on track, especially when starting, as it is easy to lose track as a speed reading beginner.
  • Using a pacemaker (a metronome or other device that helps you keep a consistent pace)
  • Reading in chunks

Resist the urge to read word per word and group 5-10 words together. The eyes’ anatomy allows you to see words across 1.5 inches at a glance. Those are approximately ten words.  

Please resist the urge to sound the words you are reading because it will slow you down.

Additionally, create pictures or mind maps of these words. It is easier to retrieve picture mode memory than words or sentences. 

Eventually, with practice, you’ll increase your reading speed and become a fast reader.

Speed reading with comprehension

You can do four things to understand your text better when speed reading. Read a lot, have general knowledge of the piece of writing you want to speed read, improve your memory, and read for an hour every day.

1. Read a lot

The best way to remember what you read is to read more. To recall new information, you must read more books in one genre (as many as possible) to enrich your visual dictionary.

2. Have a general idea of the topic

Expand your knowledge on each of the topics you choose to speed read. You could listen to an audiobook and read print. Expanding your knowledge on many issues is essential because it’s impossible to speed-read new material.

3. Read for at least an hour every day

Bill Gates advises you to set aside one hour of uninterrupted reading daily (no multitasking) to improve your reading comprehension.

Also, strive to read the entire book once you embark on it to avoid misconceptions.

4. Improve your memory

Take the Iris Reading Maximizing Memory Course to train your brain to remember new information better.

What are the misconceptions about speed reading?

Several myths are associated with speed reading, and possibly you have shelved off speed reading because of them. Let’s dispel your fears by looking into some of these misconceptions.

Speed reading takes away the pleasure of reading literature

Some people claim that speed reading takes the sweetness of reading away. That’s a false claim. 

When you read slowly, you are more prone to distractions and loss of focus compared to when you are speed reading. 

Speed reading is for superhuman beings who are innately able to read faster

That’s not true. Anyone can learn speed reading. It is not innate and takes a lot of dedication, consistency, and grit to speed read.

If you take the Iris Reading Speed Reading Mastery Course, you’ll read faster and gain some more benefits. You’ll increase your productivity and boost your memory and comprehension.

When you speed read, you miss out on some words

Lie. Speed reading teaches you to digest words in chunks rather than as single words. It doesn’t train you to skip words.

You understand better when you read slowly

It is false to believe that reading at a snail’s speed will improve your understanding of a piece of writing. Reading is a complex process, and reading comprehension is determined by how much you can extract and keep in memory, not how slowly you read. 

Additionally, speed reading courses teach you to preview text and create mind maps, which improves your reading comprehension. 

An executive can read 575 wpm and still grasp the content. Professors, who spend most of their time poring into books, can comfortably read 675 words per minute and make inferences from the text. 

Readers like Theodore Roosevelt took in literature works at super speeds and were still able to quote from the books.

Then some practice the skill to win in speed reading competitions like Howard Stephen Berg and read thousands of words per minute.

Wrapping up

Science supports speed reading, which has less to do with saccades and visual acuity and relies more on mastery of the English language and a broad vocabulary. 

Therefore, anyone can learn the speed reading skill and perfect it. However, it calls for hard work and consistency, so you should practice every day. 

You may sacrifice accuracy as an untrained speed reader, but the more you read, the easier the language becomes to the extent that you can predict words. 

Additionally, speed reading with comprehension is possible, but you must master the techniques of skimming, scanning, and meta-guiding to preview text and make inferences. 

Also, learn to read words in chunks and create mental pictures as you read because remembering images is easier. 

 Furthermore, greater exposure to all genres and writings enriches your vocabulary or visual dictionary and eventually increases your reading speed.

The intent of speed reading is also vital. A layperson cannot speed read technical text, but physicians can quickly read articles in their field.

Are you convinced? Enroll now in the Iris Reading Speed Reading Classes and Memory Course at a discounted fee.

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  • keith

    I did speed reading bac in 1970 North Sydney with the Power Institute and Evelyn Woods Speed Reading Dynamics Insitute I would have easily reached and over 5000 words per minute. That is about page turning speed even during practice.
    I still read close to that today.
    I did catch up with an older student recently who also still reads quite fast. The subconscious mind plays a part in mastering speed reading by passing the subvocalizing effect.

  • Md. Mustaqim Aziz

    Thank you for this article. I am a non native reader of English. For last few months I have red more than 5 books and watched many videos over the internet on Speed reading. Througout this period I noticed that there are almost opposite views and processes have been illustrated in these books. Then I decided to find what science has discovered so far and took notes on them . This article looked like a description of my unorganized notes but more organized and more precise and subtle. My reading speed is nearly 200 wpm , I am satisfied because I was slower few months ago. I practiced and this speed is enough to serve my purpose because I can comprehend 100% at this speed. However, I will, of course try to be a better reader in future but for now this speed will suffice.

    I am sure this course is based on scientific discoveries and not teaching anything that is immaginary because whatever you have written is 100% true according to the scientific researchs that I found. I liked that part where you mentioned about “Visual Dictionary”, actually I was able to spot the phenomena but I could not figure out a perfect name for that.

    So far, I have summerised the techniques as follows :

    Chunks (Phrases )
    Visual Dictionary
    Trained Eyes
    Right side of the brain (Visualize – I am a master because I am a graphic designer )
    Concentration ( a. Pause and b. Practice concentration )
    Area (of study)

    It is not that whatever I have studied in these books was of no use, rather many of the lessons taught me a lot about how our eye and brain works, and a most valuable advice , “If you don’t comprehend you don’t read” )

    I wish you every success and thank once again for this beautiful and compendious article.