It’s hardly necessary to elaborate the advantages of learning speed reading. No matter what sort of intellectual activity you engage in, no matter what your interests or professional field, the chances are that learning speed reading is something that has the potential of vastly enhancing your abilities, as you absorb new knowledge faster and understand it and remember it better.
Now speed reading works on entirely different principles from the ones you learned in school. Remember that school was designed to give you a basic set of skills that would help carry you through life. These skills are not necessarily the ones that would give you capabilities above those of your peers. Schools are intellectual factories, turning out a set of mass produced citizens who have a reasonable level of education. It’s the tests and trials of later life that separate the wheat from the chaff.
So school taught you to read word for word. But this is really the least efficient and minimally intuitive way of reading, or indeed, or taking in and processing any new knowledge. The mind doesn’t think word for word – instead it thinks in patterns and in pictures, making leaps of intuition that can be the mark of genius. And that’s the method you have to bring to your reading to truly take it to another level altogether. Because when you do this, the workings of your mind and your input, which is reading, will work on the same ‘wavelength’ ensuring that they function together perfectly.
The best method to practice visualization is with works of fiction. Non-fiction, such as self-help books, are not half as easy to visualize. All you have to do is read the book, and allow the pictures to form in your mind. See the whole story in your mind, just as if you’re watching a movie. Of course you’ll have to read a reasonable amount of books before this becomes natural to you, but once it does, you’ll find that you not only read faster, but that you retain clearly everything that you do read.
And once it feels natural to use visualization while reading works of fiction, you can move on to reading non-fiction. Here you should start with newspapers, rather than self-help books. Newspapers contain a lot of exciting incidents and stories. If the article that you’re reading is merely factual, imagine the reporter speaking to you, telling you of the information in person. If it’s a report about an incident, visualize that incident. All this is excellent practice.
And once you hone your skills on newspapers and magazines, you can apply visualization to almost any topic under the sun. Take biology – if you just read about the different parts of a plant cell (just as an example) you would read this information slowly and retain even less – but if you automatically visualized the plant cell as you read the informations, adding each bit of new knowledge to your mental picture as you continued to read, the chances are that not only would you move through the information faster, but that you would retain it for years to come.
There are a good many other techniques of speed reading, some more sophisticated than others, and generally speaking, a good speed reading course should teach you all of them. It’s worth pursuing, because speed reading definitely works, and can be of infinite use to you.