Speed-Reading Course – Science, Practice, Excellence
The ever-increasing speed of life causes us to have less time to do more things than ever. In today’s hectic world, a speed-reading course could be a game-changer for you. Why?
We spend quite some time reading. Think about what would happen if you knew how to read books faster? If you could go through the work brief or study material in a much shorter time? Or if it only took you a couple of minutes to read all the online articles that interest you? An ability to read fast could give you a competitive edge over the world.
In this article, we will show you why and how to embrace speed reading. In it, we talk about:
- The basics of speed-reading
- The science behind a speed-reading course
- How a speed-reading course works
- The average speed of reading and comprehending
- Unhelpful habits that slow down reading speed
- What a speed-reading course teaches you
- Applying speed reading to an online text
- A few extra tips on how to read books faster
What Is Speed Reading All About?
The scientific inquiry into speed reading begun in the 1950s with Evelyn Wood, an educator and businesswoman. She developed a program on how to read faster. Since then, both academic and popular literature has flourished. Everyone could appreciate the advantages of going over large quantities of text at nearly super-human speed.
However, there is more to speed-reading than speed.
At Iris Reading, we do not teach you to merely read faster. Our approach sets us apart and makes us the largest and most trusted provider of speed-reading and memory training. We do not coach eyes to sprint through words. Instead, we focus on three essential elements:
Therefore, our speed-reading course is based on an all-inclusive take on reading. Yes, we do need to train our eyes and brains to process words faster. It is the first step.
However, reading is about comprehending information. Therefore, our online speed reading and memory courses focus on developing your skills to grasp the content.
Finally, we want not only to read and understand but also to remember. Our courses make sure that you simultaneously develop your retention skills.
As a result, you develop into not merely a speed reader. You become a speed-learner. Such a skill makes all the difference in the world where knowledge means power and success.
The Science Backing a Speed-Reading Course
Seventy years ago, everyone was excited about the prospect of increasing their reading pace. People were eager to take a speed-reading course. However, academics were skeptical. They argued, for a long time, that it would not be possible to improve humans’ speed of reading. Not without sacrificing comprehension, that is.
Nonetheless, recent studies refuted these claims. Researchers found confirmation for what people who took a speed-reading course testified about. Increasing the speed at which you read — and understand — text is a scientifically confirmed possibility!
One common criticism was that a speed-reading course would improve reading speed only for the course texts. To test that assumption, scientists subjected it to a rigorous investigation. The findings? A speed-reading course teaches skills that can be used in any text.
Another similar study also corroborated that claim. A speed-reading course will significantly improve your reading speed overall. A person who took the course outperforms someone who did not. And the effects were apparent in any kind of reading material.
When scientists looked into how the increase in reading speed happens, they found out that there is a gradual improvement throughout a speed reading course. However, the effects are apparent from the beginning. As soon as you start training your brain to approach reading in a new way, you start reaping the benefits.
How a Speed-Reading Course Works
A speed-reading course has potent effects on your ability to read faster. If done right, it will also teach you to increase the rate at which you understand and retain the information you read. But how does such a course work?
The average speed of reading and comprehending
The basic intention of a speed-reading course is to work on your reading fluency. Reading rate (or reading speed) is an essential characteristic of the fluency of reading. In other words, you interact with the content as efficiently as you can read and grasp it.
The average speed at which people can read varies. It is based on numerous factors. Not all of them are known at this point. Still, age, education level, training and experience are some of the known influences.
In general, it comes down to two things — neurology and training. A speed-reading course addresses both broad factors.
On average, adults read at a speed of 238 words per minute. This number is based on a 2019 study that analyzed the findings of 190 reports published over the last century.
There are, though, major variations between individuals. Moreover, people seem to be reading slower nowadays than decades ago. Therefore, the average speed we read today is closer to 150-250 words per minute. For college-educated individuals, it is around 250-300 words per minute.
At Iris Reading, we base our work on such findings. We do not aim for you to read thousands of words per minute and have no idea what it was that you read about. We strive to help you become a more productive individual as a whole.
We start by acknowledging the delicate balance between reading, comprehension, and retention. Our courses train you to increase your reading speed progressively. Simultaneously, you are training your brain to understand and remember the information your visual memory took in.
We base our speed-reading course on a thorough understanding of the neurology and psychology of reading. Here are some reading habits we found that all of us have — but need to change if we want to read faster.
Habits That Slow Down Your Reading Speed
Could you think of one thing that you once learned to do, but the way you did it was suboptimal? Maybe it was drawing, swimming, cooking, or doing a math formula? We all had such an experience.
Then, someone came and showed us that there was a much more effective way to do it. They helped us get rid of unneeded movements and actions. They showed us how we were making things more difficult for ourselves, unnecessarily so. Although our way was working — there simply was an incomparably better way to get results.
It is the same with reading. There is a more efficient way to read.
How we usually read is a combination of learning and neurology. Luckily, our minds are remarkable at learning new skills. An expertly crafted speed-reading course will help you overcome these unhelpful reading habits:
- Fixation. Our eyes naturally fixate on bits of text as we read. That is, our eyes sometimes rest on words. It is a matter of milliseconds, but when you read a longer text, it adds up. The research found that how quickly we read and comprehend directly depends on how often and how long our eyes fixate. In other words, highly skilled readers are able to extract information from text quickly.
- Regression. A recent study determined that slow readers often re-read words, especially longer ones. However, we all do it. You know how you sometimes read a paragraph only to realize you have no clue what you just read? Your mind drifts away. It may happen due to a lack of motivation, focus, or the fact that you are reading complex material. Although necessary and expected to an extent, regression slows you down.
- Subvocalization. Subvocalization, simply put, means pronouncing words in our head while reading. Remember how we said our reading habits are a product of learning alongside neurology? When we were children, they taught us to read by pronouncing words. We were then instructed to move this vocalization into our head. As a result, many adults unconsciously subvocalize.
A study using MRI scans confirmed that subvocalization slows down reading speed. It mobilizes cognitive functions that are not necessary. On the other hand, it makes comprehension difficult. In other words, when you subvocalize, you try harder but understand less. The same study proved that a speed-reading course could reduce subvocalization. In that way, based on neuroimaging techniques, we improve our reading efficiency.
What Does a Speed Reading Course Teach You?
Speed reading training addresses these unhelpful reading habits. It re-teaches you how to read. Only this time, you learn to do so with mastery.
The first step is to address fixation. Our eyes will fixate. It is how the neurology of reading works. However, we can learn to read in blocks instead of going one word at a time. We no longer let our eyes rest on individual words. By doing so, we increase the speed at which we read.
Simultaneously, we allow our eyes to pick up important information not only from one word in the immediate focus. Scientific findings revealed that we gather information from surrounding words as well. So, a speed-reading course teaches you not only to read words faster but also to gather info more efficiently.
How does this happen? A part of our brain, the thalamus, filters visual information. Our visual cortex works with the filtered data and extracts important bits. This happens even before we become aware of all the information available to us. Therefore, when we train speed reading, we are working on making this pre-conscious process more efficient.
Overall, a speed-reading course helps our brain work to our advantage without us being directly conscious of it. Such training also increases our working memory, as confirmed by research. It aids us to retrieve and process information with greater efficiency.
What About Speed-Reading Online Texts?
You might remember that we mentioned how reading speed overall has decreased in the last few years. One of the possible reasons is that reading online texts takes more time than printed out words. Findings revealed that the speed is even slower in virtual and augmented reality (which may become highly relevant soon).
To improve your reading speed for printed and online texts, we at Iris Reading developed a range of apps. Our AccelaReader was designed to help you increase your reading speed by 50% without any formal speed-reading training. All you need to do is copy and paste the text you want to read in the textbox.
AccelaReader allows you not only to read that particular text quicker. It has a range of settings that are in line with scientific research and our experience at Iris Reading. It is, in essence, a speed-reading trainer.
For example, you can customize the speed at which words flash on the screen. However, you can also set the number of words to appear. In that way, you can gradually increase the blocks of words we spoke about earlier, alongside the speed itself.
A Few Extra Tips on How to Read Books Faster
You might wonder if all of what we spoke above applies to books. Could you speed-read a novel? How about textbooks and college books? They are more complex than the average magazine article, you might object. So, how to read books faster? Will a speed-reading course help with that?
Yes, books are more intricate and, primarily, more extensive. Nonetheless, here we move on from speed as such to comprehension and memory.
One of the techniques used to improve comprehension is to get into a habit of changing speed when you are reading. This forces your brain to remain focused. And, with focus, understanding comes. Scientific research confirmed that, in good readers, attention interplays with comprehension and speed.
Furthermore, to read and comprehend books faster, you should train to inspect the content the right way. This means reading:
- Heading and subheadings
- Bolded and italicized text
- Titles of tables, figures, or charts
By doing so, you utilize the foundational psychological knowledge about achieving optimal levels of understanding while remaining time efficient.
And, how to memorize what you read in books, you might ask? Once you become great at understanding content, you will find it much easier to remember. When you truly understand something, you use other cognitive resources. They allow a much deeper storing of information compared to mere memorization.
It is why you forget a phone number as soon as you dial it. It is also why you never forgot why the Sun sets every day. Once you understand a principle, it stays in your memory for good. That knowledge is yours forever. To memorize is to comprehend.
However, there are additional tools a speed-reading course can teach you.
People who are great at memorizing most often use mnemonics. Mnemonics are intellectual tools that help people remember and retrieve information with much less effort for centuries. For example, you could use acronyms, expressions, or even music, to store data in your brain efficiently.
Start Using Your Time Better – Now!
A speed-reading course is more than training on how to read books faster or be the first to finish reading a project report. It is a matter of cherishing the most valuable of one’s possessions — your time! When you learn to read and comprehend swiftly and remember the information you took in, you gain priceless amounts of time to create a new world for yourself.
Perfecting your expertise, learning new things, or creating leisure time for yourself and your loved ones — options are plentiful. Join our free mini video course to learn about speed reading. Start benefiting from the skill that gives you your time back — right now.