The average reader is able to absorb 200 to 400 words per minute. After attaining the skill of speed reading, these rates can double or even triple.
However, many of the speed reading techniques do not increase comprehension rates. With the amount of research carried out, there are several ways to increase reading speed and increase comprehension rates. This includes avoiding skimming and other bad habits, increasing your concentration, and preparing for what you are about to read. Furthermore, with modern technology, there are several program designed to help speed reading and increase comprehension rates.
What is Speed Reading?
Speed reading was discovered by several psychologists, educational experts and the US Air Force with the use of the tachistoscope. However, the term was defined by school teacher: Evelyn Woods. The term defines the ability to read words at high rate of speed, with or without affecting comprehension rates.
Woods found that using her hand as a pacer, whilst turning the pages, she was able to increase her reading speed. It was from these results, that Evelyn Woods created her speed reading program; Reading Dynamics.
How to Increase Comprehension Rate Whilst Speed Reading
There are several useful techniques you can apply without purchasing a speed reading software. Through practice, it is possible to read faster whilst increasing your comprehension rate. Some of these techniques include getting rid of any bad habits that you have acquired whilst growing up, such as sub vocalization and skimming. Sub vocalization is the internal speech a reader tends to imagine when reading out a word. Many readers tend to have this habit in order to imagine the sound of the word. However, in reality sub vocalization reduces reading speed greatly. Eliminating this bad habit from your daily reading would greatly increase your reading speed. Obviously, reading the words out loud would have dire consequences on your reading speed as well. Skimming should be avoided to increase comprehension rate.
Skimming is the process where the reader visually searches for the information on the page for clues on the meaning. It might be useful for short articles; however, for large amount of reading that require analysis it is best to avoid this habit. Nevertheless, in the workforce, some readers tend to skim past the non relevant information. It does save time, but care must be taken that you do not skip past the required information. The best way to increase the rate of comprehension during reading is to make you concentrate.
Although your first instinct would be to argue back against this accusation, it is important to acknowledge that during reading, ultimate concentration is required for understanding the information as you speed read. Make sure that there are no distraction when you speed read is one method of increasing concentration. Having genuine interest in what you are going to read is a way of increasing your concentration as well. This might be rather hard to accomplish, but with practice you will get over this problem. Preparing yourself for what you are about to read is a method of gaining the most information.
Preparing your mind for what you about to read ensures that you increase your comprehension rate. Possibly scanning the index or the summary of the text would give you an idea of what you are about to read. Moreover, if you are supposed to answer a question, make sure you have read the question thoroughly so that you know which information to search for in the text.