After years of practice and handling objections, I still get this question, Is speed reading a myth? Can you increase your reading speed?
We tend to forget that reading is a skill which we have learned, like sports, and like any other skill, it requires improvement.
Sadly most of us are reading the same as we are being taught to, and whenever we are asked to change those habits, we face speed reading myths.
I am sharing my personal experience and what I have observed in other people while discussing speed reading.
I have come across many speed reading myths whenever I share my speed reading skill with my friends. So here I am listing the Six-speed reading myths that are most common as a part of how to speed reading? Blog.
Let’s understand is speed reading myth?
If I read fast my comprehension will be reduced, to understand the things I need to read slow.
First of all, slow reading is a sign of poor concentration and slower processing.
If you are reading slowly, it simply means you need too much time to process whatever you have read, or you are not able to concentrate well enough.
If your concentration is low, you will struggle to understand the things which you have read.
The brain likes speed, and it has the capability to read faster and keep comprehension intact.
I have found out that at the optimal speed, my comprehension is also good, and I can remember what I have read. The Key is your optimal speed.
The more you work on your concentration which can come with speed, the more is the comprehension.
P.S this does not mean you start reading at full speed right away. Speed reading is a skill that requires training and practice.
You should understand everything when you read it for the first time.
You can never achieve this because we learn in layers.
Remember, when preparing for an exam, you are re-reading or revising the syllabus. At that time, it gives you an even deeper insight into the material.
I have known some students who revise the entire material 5 to 10 times, and they have a different insight every time. It may take even more revision or re-reading to understand the material 100%.
The more they revise, the more their understanding of the subject increases.
You can have a reading strategy with sufficient time to revise or revisit the material.
Every word is important to understand the material we are reading.
Many people prefer reading word by word for better understanding but never achieve that level in the first reading. As I mentioned in point number 2, learning comes in layers.
Whenever we try to understand every single word in the material we are reading, we are looking for meanings of the words rather than the idea of the text.
Imagine if you could understand the text without even needing to know all the words. This will save your time significantly and can help you read even faster.
If you develop the intuitive skill while reading, you will spend less time understanding each and every word mentioned on the page.
Remember, your goal should be to understand whatever you are reading, not building vocabulary at this moment.
Your reading speed is the same for all types of reading materials.
Try this and observe your reading speed while you are reading textbooks, technical manuals, newspapers, and novels. Check whether you find any change in your reading speed.
I did this exercise when I first came across this concept; I have observed myself reading at a faster speed when reading light materials like newspapers and novels. On the other hand, I read slower when reading maths or technical books.
This is common, and your reading speed will always vary based on the reading material.
If you apply speed reading to technical documents, you may miss an important part. It is not advisable. With practice, you may read technical documents at a faster rate.
The reading experts do the same, and they are fast reading fiction material and relatively slower with technical documents.
You can not increase your reading speed
I have learned that there are people who can read at 1000 wpm (words per minute), and they have acquired it with practice.
Like any other skill, you can also learn and practice the reading skill. You can definitely learn speed reading and read at 1000 wpm with practice and patience.
Reading at that fast speed is obviously going to affect your comprehension. This takes time, and with practice, you can achieve both speed and comprehension.
I suggest taking speed reading training or following this how to speed reading? A blog for more tools, techniques, and strategies to increase your reading speed and avoid the speed reading myth.
If I speed read the material I will not be able to remember it.
It is one of the most common speed reading myth. There is a difference between comprehension and the ability to remember what you have just read.
Comprehension is something you have just read, and it is more of a present moment thing.
Remembering and the ability to recall are altogether different skills to learn.
However, many reading strategies can increase your reading speed, and there are many memory techniques you can apply to remember the things you have just read.
I have found out that multiple visits to the reading material make it familiar to our brain. As a result, we are able to recall it easily.
The methods which have worked for me are, I read the material multiple times and create a summary for the first two times, then I revisit summaries mostly. Then, if I can’t recall anything from the summary, I go back to the material for yet another revision.
I have also observed that whatever I talk about to others, I remember it easily, so I discuss what I have read with my friends and family to make it permanent in my brain.
I will be providing book summaries in this blog for free. This way, I will remember what I have read by sharing it with you.
Bonus speed reading myth – I can not read fast.
I have mentioned this in earlier speed reading myths as well. Reading is a skill that can be improved like any other skill.
I have created this how to speed reading? A blog to provide you with all the resources which you can use to increase your reading speed.
Remember, if you create this belief that you can not learn it, you may never learn it.
But if you apply the exercises, tools, and strategies mentioned in this, how to speed reading? guide with practice, and you can definitely increase your reading speed
Reference – Speed reading myth chapter from this book.