Speed reading is defined as the process of recognizing and absorbing phrases or sentences on a page all at once, rather than focusing on individual words.
Research points to three advantages of speed reading.
- Increased comprehension
- Less eye time on the page
- Less eye fatigue
It’s a handy skill in today’s world where we spend so much time reading—emails, web articles, texts, etc. We likely feel pressure to get through all this information more quickly, so that we “stay in the loop” and make informed decisions. Speed reading allows us to do that.
Reading to gain information or facts is one type of reading. I use rapid reading to wade through writing craft articles, blogs, and book research.
I don’t use speed reading if I’m reading for pleasure.
Then I want to savor the story and the author’s style of writing. I read every word.
My go-to technique in speed reading is skimming and skipping smaller words, i.e., prepositions and articles.
The technique creates a problem when I’m writing, though. I tend to leave out those words there too. Fortunately, critique partners, beta readers, and editors put them all back in.
Average adult readers read at a speed of 238 words per minute. Learning to speed read can raise that rate.
President John F. Kennedy was a big believer in speed reading. He read 1200 per minute. President Jimmy Carter’s reading speed is reported at 2,000 words per minute. Evelyn Wood read 2,500 words per minute. Check out other famous speed readers speeds here.
Speed reading is not for everyone, but it is a skill you can acquire. Want to learn more and whether it’s for you? Check out these articles.
Or give speed reading a try with this eight-minute free YouTube video that teaches speed reading techniques.