Speed Reading and Comprehension for Everyone

It takes an average person one minute to read one page of a book whereas a speed reader can finish ten pages within the same minute and exhibit the same level of comprehension as the first reader. How is this possible? The normal convention is that as a person increases their speed in reading, their comprehension goes down. But speed reading allows a person to increase their reading rate without sacrificing comprehension.

TalkShop helps students learn this skill by breaking poor reading habits that have been developed over the years. These habits include reading word-for-word, regressing or backtracking, lip-reading, and poor concentration. Below are some reasons why it’s important to break these reading habits.

Reading word-for-word slows us down by taking in information that can already be provided by our brain. Articles, conjunctions, and prepositions are just some of the words that don’t need to be read for us to understand a sentence. This is because our brain has the ability to fill in blanks based on experienced patterns. Take the sentence below for example and ask yourself if you understand what the words might be talking about:

“Joey, _ practicing hard _ wants _ win _ medal.”

The phrase above may sound like caveman speak but it clearly shows that we can comprehend sentences without having to read every single word.

The next habit to avoid is regressing or backtracking where a person re-reads a section of an article again and again. This is often caused by lack of concentration which is why all distractions must be avoided. Daydreaming, listening to music, and multitasking are some activities that can cause backtracking. There are also times when writers do not give information in a chronological sequence or leave out details in preparation for a shocking twist. Avoid the temptation to backtrack and have faith you will find the answer you are looking for in future pages.

Lip-reading is another obstacle because we read as fast as we speak when we are lip-reading. The average speaking rate of a person is 110-150 words per minute whereas the average reading speed is 200-300 words per minute. This means that lip-reading causes us to reduce our reading speed by more than half. Keep your lips sealed, read with your mind, and you will find that you can read much faster than usual.

And most importantly, one cannot lose focus as speed reading is similar to driving a car; the faster you go the more fuel you end up using, which in this case is intense concentration. Keep your eyes glued to your book and focus on finishing a page before blinking. You’ll find that the more focused you are, the faster you can read without sacrificing comprehension.

While helpful, speed reading is not always the answer and must only be used in appropriate situations. Reading is meant to be a leisure activity that anyone can enjoy without the need for electricity. In this fast-paced world, books are the only connection we have left to centuries of knowledge and years of heritage. To fully appreciate the wonders of reading, relax, take your time, and digest every word.

Lastly, speed reading is not a skill that one can learn overnight. Like any other skill it needs time and practice to be fully mastered. This is why TalkShop’s speed reading program builds not only improves comprehension skills but also targets basic concerns by correcting bad reading habits that have been b up over the years. Through constant practice, proper guidance, and dedication, anyone can become an effective speed reader.

Posted by TalkShop
Sheila Viesca, TalkShop CEO and Director of Communication, took up Bachelor of Arts in Literature, pursued Master's degrees in Entrepreneurship and Economics, and completed her Doctorate in Applied Cosmic Anthropology. She designed the Philippines' Language Competency Benchmark for the Department of Education and pioneered Integrated Language Teaching (ILT) in workshop designs and corporate communication training. You can follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, LinkedIN


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