When you’re first working on increasing your reading speed, you might think that you only have one goal: increasing the number of pages you read per minute. However, there’s more to that goal than you might think. If you have a mental image of the stereotypical “speed reader” it’s probably someone flipping pages so fast they’re almost a blur – zip zip zip zip and they’re done. Next book!
In reality, a good speed reader knows that reading speed needs to be adjusted depending on the material being covered, and by the reader’s goals for the information contained in that material. If you’re flipping through a magazine while waiting for an airplane, you’re not doing it because you have a need to remember the details of the recipes, gossip columns, or two-week-old news items in it – you’re probably killing time, letting your eyes wander while your ears listen for the flight announcement. It doesn’t matter if you only vaguely remember what you read when you get off the plane at your destination. On the other hand, if you’re using that airport time to study for the placement exam you’ll be taking two hours after your plane lands, you’ll need to read with the purpose of retaining the information contained in the text. There will be some times when you are flipping pages quickly, looking for specific headings or key words, and other times when you’re carefully reading a specific passage or two. There will be large segments of the text that you can skim through, mentally noting the content and overall structure of the information.
A good speed-reading course will focus on improving your ability to read efficiently, with good comprehension of the text, not on insisting that you learn to read X number of pages in Y minutes. Of course, by improving your efficiency, you’re also improving your speed, so your page-per-minute ratio will go up over time. Remember, though, that if you’re turning a page before you have absorbed the information you need from the text – whether that’s four key words or an entire paragraph – then you’re not reading efficiently, because nine times out of ten you’ll have to go back and re-read that page, looking for what you missed the first time.
To increase your reading efficiency, get rid of the things that cause you to lose focus on your main goal, which is getting the information you need. The 7 Speed Reading program will help you do this, by teaching you how to:
- improve your ability to focus your mind
- learn the difference between skimming text and skipping text
- lose the habit of subvocalization
- increase your ability to read blocks of text rather than single words
Focus on efficiency, and your reading speed and comprehension will increase.