Almost everyone has seen someone speed read, they appear to skim the text and still have read and absorbed the content. It is normal for everyone to read at different speeds, even before some people have mastered the skills of speed reading. The people who have studied speed reading techniques will still read at different speeds; however they will undoubtedly beat those without speed reading experience. The point of speed reading is to understand and absorb the material using specifically learned strategies. Skimming a page and then rapidly turning onto the next page is not really of use if the brain is not absorbing the information at an equivalent speed. The best and most efficient way to learn to speed read is to enroll in speed reading classes, where speed reading skills will be explained clearly.
So, what are the direct and indirect benefits of learning to speed read? The answer to this question very much depends at what stage in your life you are at. Here are some to consider:
If a college student has not learnt, for one reason or another, to speed read by the time they enter college, it is generally considered essential that they do so within their first year (along with learning short-hand!). Practically speaking, this is likely to be the busiest time of a person’s reading life. Moreover, students are often required to read huge amounts of materials, comprehend them, condense them and then comment on them. Having the ability to speed read is nothing short of a God-send skill.
Even though you may not have learnt to speed read prior to entering the workforce, this doesn’t mean that you no longer need to learn speed reading. Consider this: three quarters of all the world’s reading materials (which includes every book and magazine ever written) is contained within the filing cabinets of offices! And, even in this electronic age, with data protection laws in place, we are still required to read vast amounts of information at work each year.
One final group that we should not overlook is “English as a second language” students. Clinical evidence has shown that ESL students who have the ability to speed read have a far greater chance of comprehending the English language and are more inclined to stick to learning English. This is not to say, of course, that speed reading is the answer to all your English language problems, but it is an additional weapon to help you conquer the language barriers!
Learning to speed read is not a difficult or painfully long process. In fact, a recently released Learn To Speed Read book that I have just finished had me reading faster by the fourth chapter. Truly fast reading skills come with time and practice of course, but this book can teach you to read faster and read better right from the beginning.