We love information. We learn through information sources, we make a living through them, and we have fun with them. You could say we’re information hunter-gatherers, and we’ve been so all along. It’s just that today, the need to keep up with the endless stream of new information is more urgent than ever.
Naturally, we want to consume information faster, and that’s why we’re trying reading hacks and looking for new ways of reading in order to keep up with the pace. It’s something that’s been going on for years.
The US Air Force tachistoscope
The tachistoscope, a device used in the American Air Force, is considered the first instance of how people tried to make their brains get used to faster processing times for information. By featuring and then withdrawing an image quickly, pilots would learn to identify the enemy mid air and respond swiftly and appropriately.
It wasn’t until the 1920’s that scientists and psychologists began to believe that the human brain reads in words, not in letters. Scientists played around with the idea of how someone can read words or phrases not letter by letter but just by looking at the word or phrase as a single, coherent block of information. They discovered that the human brain can process information after only viewing it for 2 milliseconds.
Reading through a meta guide
The more we learned about reading and the human brain, the more interesting speed reading became. In the 50’s Evelyn Wood, who studied fast readers, discovered that using a finger or hand to guide and pace the reading rhythm helps a person read faster. In fact, the term “speed reading” is attributed to Evelyn Wood and her efforts to promote speed reading to the public. She went on to teach her speed reading technique through seminars throughout the US.
From then on, speed reading has constantly been enriched with even more methods on how to improve speed reading skills through new experiments and research.
Apart from using a hand, finger or ruler to pace reading, the elimination of subvocalization is one of the fundamental techniques used when teaching speed reading.
Spreeder, which is a top free speed reading app, does exactly that. It helps you read at a pace where subvocalization is not possible or allowed. The pace set by the app forces your brain to ‘silently’ read the word appearing on the screen rather than reading it out loud in your head. The more you train your brain to read this way, the more comfortable you become reading at a faster pace.
Speed Reading in 2016
As a skill, speed reading is essential for many professionals. Gathering information has never been more essential to our careers, and even our social lives. In both cases keeping up with trends and developments is important to our status and well-being.
Learning to speed read will help you be more efficient at accumulating valuable knowledge, help you save time, and even contribute towards your ability to make more money through the skills, knowledge, and insight you acquire through speed reading.
Skim and scanning, pacing, eliminating subvocalization and regression, visually reading chunks of words at a time – there’s so much to learn about speed reading. Open the door to the exciting world of speed reading, and you’ll never look back again!
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