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UKREVIEWER
06-22-2007, 03:07 PM
Has anyone ever tried this? Could you recommend a book that works? I'm interested in trying these techniques out, but with a plethora of mixed feelings. Can books (and even courses) improve your ability to read AND learn faster? Or are these types of books just gimmicks that never work, although most people would like them to?

I'd like to think that you don't have to have a photographic memory in the first place - but frankly, in the back of my mind if it worked we'd all be hearing a lot more about these methods.

Roger J Carlson
06-22-2007, 07:49 PM
You might take a look at this link:

http://skepdic.com/speedreading.html

Sheryl Nantus
06-22-2007, 07:53 PM
speedreading does work - I trained in it way back in the 10th grade and find it invaluable... to a degree! Got clocked to over 1000 words a minute, but that was back in my prime and in fiction. Even now I can read a good paperback within a few hours, if it catches the wave.

basically it's best to run your vision down the center of the page; using your perpherial (sp?) vision to catch the other words and the rest of the line. You'll find it works great for fiction, but non fiction is a bit harder since you have to grasp the concept and understand it!

good luck!

UKREVIEWER
06-22-2007, 09:02 PM
You might take a look at this link:

http://skepdic.com/speedreading.html

Thanks Roger - I like that website 'The Skeptic's Dictionary'. I haven't read all the articles, because I just had to pop back and thank you first, but I will. It's interesting to hear that some people (well, KIM) who are born without a corpus callosum find it easier to speed read, but somehow don't think I want to have that surgically removed to do so. :)

Maybe if I keep reading I may stumble across another article that holds the magic key to all my speed reading answers - here's hoping!

Thanks again, the more I read about this, the more I want to learn and try out the techniques. I'm still skeptical, but I would love to be proved wrong and find out how to do this for myself!

Sass

UKREVIEWER
06-22-2007, 09:06 PM
speedreading does work - I trained in it way back in the 10th grade and find it invaluable... to a degree! Got clocked to over 1000 words a minute, but that was back in my prime and in fiction. Even now I can read a good paperback within a few hours, if it catches the wave.

basically it's best to run your vision down the center of the page; using your perpherial (sp?) vision to catch the other words and the rest of the line. You'll find it works great for fiction, but non fiction is a bit harder since you have to grasp the concept and understand it!

good luck!

Thanks Sheryl, I appreciate this tip and will try it out. I can see what you mean about it not working so much for non fiction, but for fiction - I'll have to give this a try.

I'm still on the look out for speed reading books. Do you recommend any? Maybe there are some in the link above. I'd better have a look, eh?

Anyway, thanks for your comment. Much appreciated!

Sass

Roger J Carlson
06-22-2007, 09:07 PM
Personally, I think the techniques of speed reading do work for some people, but certainly not all. (You won't know till you try.) But claims that "if it worked for me, it will work for anyone" are always given by people for whom it DID work. You never hear about those for whom it didn't, so the endorsement is skewed.

Sheryl Nantus
06-22-2007, 09:13 PM
I was trained (one of those school lunch programs) with a slide projector that basically flashed a line at a time of a short story - then at the end I had to answer questions about it to make sure I comprehended it...

I"m not sure if you can work something like that, but just try to run down the center of the page with your vision and grab the rest on the sides...

good luck!

cooltouch
06-22-2007, 10:19 PM
I went to a private grade school back in the 60s, and like Sheryl, we had the projectors with the words flashed on the screen. I first encountered this method of reading speed improvement in fourth grade. Our school did this for only a couple of years.

Then, in the mid-1970s, I sprang for the full Evelyn Woods course. I was a college student at the time and figured it would be of solid benefit. EW advertised that they would not only improve your reading speed but your comprehension as well.

The "hook" that EW used was to offer anyone a free mini speed reading lesson that was guaranteed to increase one's reading speed by at least a certain amount (that I don't recall anymore). Both the "hook" and the mini lesson worked.

The folks who taught that class started you out by measuring your reading speed and comprehension. They used paperback novels as the reading material. The initial test scored me as reading at 350 wpm with a 95% comprehension.

At the end of the course, I was tested at between 6,000 and 10,000 wpm, depending on the technique used and the subject matter, with an 80% comprehension. I recall pointing out to the instructor that I'd lost 15 percentage points in comprehension, and that it hadn't improved. When I told him what my initial comprehension score was, his reply was that most people tested out between 50 and 60%, and it was typical to see this number go up. Oh well, guess you can't have everything.

Yes, it is scanning. It is not reading, at least not the way one is accustomed to. And I was never really comfortable with it. But after spending so much money on the course, I made a special point of using the EW methods in my schoolwork, and even though it felt pretty scary taking exams on materials I had sped-read only, I still made "A"s on the exams. As near as I can figure, much of the material was being channeled by the subconscious directly into memory.

The EW class was quite strongly geared toward students when I took it. Probably the most useful item I gained from the course was the note-taking techniques they taught. I still use some of these techniques, although I've modified them somewhat to fit my specific requirements.

A few words about the "free mini speed-reading lesson" that EW offered: As I mentioned above, this works. And it's simple to do, but it requires another person, whose duty it is to set reading pace and to time each little session. The idea is simple -- one scans lines of text, using a finger as a guide. Initially, the finger is moved faster than the eye can read the individual words, but the eye stays with the finger. Then you slow down and read at a normal pace, continuing to use the finger as a guide. You do this several times. Each time when you pick up the speed where the eye just attempts to follow the finger, you move the finger slightly faster than before (this pace is controlled by the other person). After about 10 or 15 minutes of this, you will discover that your "normal" reading speed is significantly faster than it was when you first began.

I occasionally teach an SAT preparation class, and one of the things I do with my students before we begin the verbal section is to give them this mini speed-reading lesson. Almost all of my students showed noticeable improvement, some quite dramatic. One in particular went from 500 wpm to over 800 wpm.

Best,

Michael

JL_Benet
06-30-2007, 09:34 PM
If you want to try learning to speed read, get a hold of Breakthrough Rapid Reading by Peter Kump. It's done very well, so you can do it yourself. I've tried the Evelyn Wood stuff, but they always seemed like ads for the next seminar/book/tape/etc wrapped up with enough tips to get you a little increase in reading speed. The Kump book does away with the hype. It's practical and useful.

As the skeptic article alluded to, comprehension is key. I teach Reading in high school (and hold a Florida Ed. Certificate in Reading). We don't teach speedreading techniques in our classes. The focus is on comprehending what they read. I do think speedreading has its place, but it is not to magic bullet cure for poor reading. You really need to be a good reader first. Most people on these forums don't have the problems my students have, so I'd recommend trying out the Kump book.

Bartholomew
07-27-2007, 11:34 AM
I got interested in speed reading a while back. You can get it so that you're reading a whole line of text at a time--its a matter of how fast you're moving your eyeballs, I guess--but (at least for me) I couldn't retain anything I read using that method.

I read somewhat faster now than I used to--but I suspect it has to do more with reading a lot and less with moving my eyeballs quickly.

Summonere
08-07-2007, 09:25 PM
Speedy Gonzales reading...

Took such a class in high school. Start-of-semester testing indicated that I read faster than normal and retained more than normal.

End-of-semester testing indicated that I read abnormally fast, though I retained only an average (normal) amount.

But here’s the deal: active recall versus passive recall. My super-speedy reading mostly meant that I could recognize correct answers on tests when I was quizzed about what I’d just read, but that I could provide only a general description of what I’d read if I had to write it down from memory, that description sprinkled with main points found in the work, but probably not much detail (though it seems I did manage to pick out details from lists of possibilities). This, then, is passive recall.

Active recall, on the other hand, meant that I could quite accurately tell you what I had read, and in detail, back when I was merely reading quicker than average and retaining more than average.

Comparing the two, I’d take the higher-than-average retention of fast reading versus the merely average retention of speedy reading.

That said...

Did the techniques for speed reading help me read faster? Yes, apparently. For instance, when I was in college, I once took forty minutes to read fourteen chapters of an astronomy textbook prior to a test. Aced the test.

That said...

I much more agree with than disagree with the article in the link posted by Roger J Carlson (see active versus passive recall, above).

Sheryl Nantus is pretty much spot-on with what ends up happening when you speed read. At first I just read lines more quickly, still “hearing” the words as I went. Then, as I started reading faster, I no longer heard the words. Just saw them. Then I started “reading” them forwards and backwards. Then I simply zig-zagged down the pages. Then I just went straight down the middle of the pages. Then (this sounds hokey and made-up but, hey, it’s what I did...) I looked at the middle of each page and flipped to the next and the next and the next pretty much as quickly as I could turn the pages.

In essence, what the speed reading seemed to do for me was expand the range of my reading vision so that I saw not just individual words, but whole sentences, and then whole paragraphs, and then whole pages. Word recognition, then, just as mentioned in the linked article, was a gigantic part of how this was done. When you see a whole sentence all at once, and every word in it, you “get” it. Same with paragraphs. Which makes me think that pattern recognition must have come into play, especially as it became apparent, with much more reading, that certain kinds of information usually found itself presented in similar ways and, in any given structure, similar places. The reading effect, then, was this: Concentrate most forcefully here and here and here...

Unlike Sheryl Nantus, though, I found speedy reading much more useful for nonfiction than fiction. Nonfiction is an information hunt. Fiction is a pleasant wallow. At least for me it is.

Just like cooltouch, though, I was immediately disappointed to watch my reading speed increase at the cost of reading comprehension. The latter is far more important than the former. Going from above-average retention to average (in this case, our average was said to be 70-percent comprehension) seemed a bad trade-off.

As to this:



Can books (and even courses) improve your ability to read AND learn faster?


Such books and courses may help you increase the speed at which you stuff things into your brain, but that’s not learning. Learning, the ability to understand information and successfully apply it, takes its own time. For that, you’re going to need as much retention as you can get.