There are many techniques available for people to increase their reading speed, at the same time retaining the information they are reading about. Obviously, like anything that requires an improvement, learning to read faster takes effort, and the desire to achieve results, and much depends on the individual and their capacity for learning, although it is generally considered that virtually anyone can achieve successful speed-reading rates.
Software programs such as 7 Speed Reading has many good tips, and instructions on how to speed-read proficiently. The makers of 7 Speed Reading proudly claim that just 7 minutes a day practice is all that is needed to enable you to be reading faster within just a matter weeks. And judging from the thorough program summary on their website, you wouldn’t bet against that claim being true.
There are two keys to learning how to read faster: eliminating subvocalization, and enhancing comprehension. The two go together for successful speed-reading results. They are not difficult to learn, and the great beauty is that the ability to increase ones speed rate when reading can be adapted for all types of reading material.
But what is subvocalization? Subvocalization refers to the stages we go through when reading. When people read they would be using one of three types of subvocalization. There are those who actually say the words out loud as they read the words on a page. Some mouth the words silently as they read, and thirdly, there are others who silently make sound associations with the words they read, though without waiting for the word to be ‘spoken’ in their minds. What all three types have in common is the shared fact that they are habits that slow brain-time down.
Speed-reading seeks to eliminate any kind of subvocalization so that a person learns how to read “visually,” rather than “audibly,” and consequently faster. In effect it is about learning how to read again, or at the very least a new way of approaching the act of reading.
Naturally, it begs the question, if someone is reading a lot faster than normal won’t this affect the readers understanding of whatever it is they are reading? The answer is yes…but that is why most learning programs such as 7 Speed Reading build in comprehension exercises, and techniques within their courses.
When a child first learns to read they are not “understanding” what it is they are reading. They are learning how to make sense of the combination of letters that make up the word, and then how to recognize that word again, and eventually memorise it. Obviously, if the word is a simple one like “cat,” a child will know what a cat is, but the child’s comprehension is less when that word is then placed into a sentence, and they have to then make sense of that sentence. Making sense of sentences, of paragraphs, of whole passages of text is something we all learn over time.
Similarly, comprehension in speed-reading comes with practice…and having the desire to train the brain to read in a different way. With a program such as 7 Speed Reading, these techniques can be quickly learned.