Speed Reading Myths

Category: Speed Reading

If you've ever seen someone just breezing through text, you may have thought to yourself, "I can't read that fast, I'm just a slow reader." Some people seem to be natural fast readers, while others stumble and take several times as long to read and study the same information. Have you ever stopped to wonder why some people read faster than others and yet seem to comprehend more?

We are going to examine and put to rest the common myths that surround the concept of speed reading. You will see that it's possible to improve your reading speed, comprehension and recall after reading about these common misconceptions.


Speed Reading Myth #1: Reading Every Letter = Better Reader

Some people believe that good readers read each letter in a word in order to comprehend what is being read. The article below clearly demonstrates that the brain can easily decode and comprehend the message of the text without reading each letter of a word. Why? Because our brain is wired to search for and understand the meaning of what is read rather than being concerned with the exact letter placement of a word. Fixating on every letter while reading only serves to drastically reduce ones reading speed.

Speed reading, with good comprehension is possible without processing every letter! Just read the misspelled article below! When finished, click on "Correct" to display the correct spelling.


Speed Reading Myth #2: Slow Reading = Better Comprehension

Another common speed reading myth, "It's easier to concentrate when reading slowly." Actually, concentration is not a matter of willpower but a matter of reading at the proper speed. It is hard to concentrate when things are happening slower than the speed of your thoughts. It would be like watching a movie in slow motion - you would get bored!

The image below illustrates how a reader without proper training will stop (fixate) on every word. After proper training, effective and efficient speed readers are able to read text in "groups of words" allowing them to read faster and fixate less while reading. Click on "Groups of Words" to see the dramatic reduction in eye fixation if one reads more than one word at a time!


Speed Reading Myth #3: Reading Faster = Lower Comprehension

Many readers believe that reading faster will significantly lower their ability to comprehend well. The truth is that good comprehension only depends on whether you can extract and retain the information you read. Some people read fast and comprehend well; others read slowly and comprehend poorly. What we do know is that reading faster has been scientifically proven to improve comprehension.



Speed Reading Myth #4: Slow Reading = More Enjoyment

Some readers feel they are only able to enjoy the text they are reading more if they read it slowly. Quite the opposite is true! Speed reading, effectively and efficiently, allows the words to lift off the page and create a movie in one's mind.

The average reader reads at 180 - 220 words per minute, the rate at which they can speak, and rereads up to 67% of what they read to regain comprehension. Reading slower than your brain works is not enjoyable.



Speed Reading Myth #5: Reading Faster = Skipping Words

Another common misconception is that certain words, e.g., at, in, the, etc, which are incorrectly labeled as non-essential, are skipped in order to read faster. This is not true! These words are essential to understand what one reads!

The text below clearly illustrates how it is impossible to extract the intended meaning of the text by excluding what are incorrectly perceived to be non-essential words. When you have completed "filling in the blanks", click on "All Words" to update the image to display the actual text.


Hopefully by understanding why these common speed reading myths are all wrong, you will become more motivated to learn the skills and habits of effective and efficient speed readers.

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speed reading myths, myths, speed reading, myth, reading myth, reading, comprehension, myth, faster, speed

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