— This guest blog was written by Jimmy Cowan who promotes the idea that increasing reading speed is good for brain development, whether you’re a child just learning to read, or an adult who could use a brain boost. —
Speed reading is reading at a pace much faster than we normally read. An average reader reads around 200 to 250 words per minute. A skilled speed reader claims to read around 1,000 to 1,500 words per minute. However, I wouldn’t agree that to be an ideal speed.Jimmy Cowan
An ideal speed could range between 400 to 800 words per minute. The reason is, just skimming through pages and not being able to comprehend or remember anything that we read would be a total waste of time. Speed reading is effective when one has a good balance of pace and comprehension.
There are various techniques to work on improving the reading speed:
Sub-vocalization – Reading each and every word in our head is called the process of sub-vocalization. Sub-vocalization can be avoided through practice. Our eyes read the words and our subconscious sends out a signal to read the words in our head. We need to train our subconscious mind to stop reading in our head. We have to train the eyes to just see through the words.
Skimming and Scanning – Skimming through words is another technique of speed reading. When you’re reading fictional or entertainment books for leisure, you don’t have to read every word. You can skim and scan through the pages. On the other hand, if you’re reading something important pertaining to academics or official documents then don’t skim through the information, especially if you have to memorize it.
Meta Guiding or Pointer Method – When you read, place your finger below the word that you’re reading. Move the finger along the sentence as you read through the line. This is a good technique to read without going back and forth. This method also increases your concentration as your eyes are reading the words that you’re pointing at. This method is called Meta Guiding or Pointer Method.
The Tracker and Pacer Method – This is similar to the pointer method. Instead of using your finger, use a pen with its cap still on. Point the pen under the word that you’re reading and then sweep along as you read the line. When you point the pen where you’re reading, you focus on what you’re reading. This technique improves your concentration and the speed of reading.
Vision Regression – Vision regression is when your eyes go back and forth while reading. Avoid letting your eyes go back and forth. Concentrate on the text and move forward reading each line. Train your eyes to concentrate and move forward. Controlling your eye movements is a difficult technique. It requires a lot of practice, and it will take time to achieve results.
The above 5 techniques are known to increase the speed of reading if practiced regularly. You can also use tools to learn speed reading. You can check our review of spreeder cx which is an excellent speed reading tool. Speed reading has its own benefits and limitations.
The truths that you should know about speed reading are:
Trains your Brain – Our brain requires exercise, just like our body. When we train our brain to absorb information, it will start storing information as much as we feed it. When we speed read, we are feeding information at a faster rate. When we first begin to speed read, we won’t be able to store a lot of information.
It will be even difficult to remember a few things that we have read. However, as we practice every day, we challenge our brain to absorb more information in a shorter duration.
Even though initially we would be disappointed with the results, in time, you will realize that your practice has not gone down the drain. Your brain is stronger with a good memory.
Trains your Eyes – When we read, we primarily use our eyes and brain. Our eyes read the text and our brain absorbs and processes the information. Through speed reading, we are consciously trying to control our eyes so that they don’t go back and forth. We try to focus on the reading and this improves our concentration too.
Improves Concentration – When we read at a slow pace, we might have noticed that our brain tends to wander and we lose focus. When we are reading at a faster pace, we are not allowing our mind to wander. There is no time to be occupied with other thoughts. We focus only on the reading. Speed reading doesn’t give that space to our mind to wander and increases our concentration.
Reduces Stress – Reading is one of the best activities to relax your mind. When you’re reading, you shut yourself away from worries that stress your mind. When you read at a faster pace, you are totally immersed in the book or the reading material. Your concentration is completely on the subject of your reading.
Boosts Confidence – Speed reading allows you to finish a book in less time. This gives you more time to read more books. The more you read, the more information, ideas, and knowledge you can acquire from different books. When you read more, you know more and you have more awareness on different topics. The knowledge that you gain from reading will boost your self-confidence.
Reading is one of the best hobbies to have for your brain development. The earlier you start, the better it is. So, always encourage children to read books and help them to develop reading as a hobby.
While you immerse into reading, remember a few things:
- When you’re reading, your head is bent downward. This will impact your neck, shoulder, and posture. Always remember to take a break in between and stretch.
- Rest your eyes in between. Look into a distance or on a wall and blink your eyes continuously. Also, splash some clean water on your eyes and face to feel fresh. Reading continuously without taking a break can strain your eyes.
- Reading is one of the best habits you can develop. But doing anything too much is bad. So, don’t forget to take a walk, talk to people around you, play with kids, cook a nice meal and give yourself a break from everything.