Being able to read faster is a skill that can bring lots of positive benefits for any person – whether it’s on a personal, professional, and even social level. In my more than half a decade of studying speed reading, I am convinced that the person who can read faster can outwit, outplay and outlast anyone in almost any job, school, or competitive environment.
So why is the ability to read faster not just a luxury, but a necessity in this modern world?
The answer is simple. We are now living in the Information Age. Therefore, your productivity and effectiveness in the workplace will, on a larger scale, depend on your ability to absorb within a shorter period of time. This is the main reason why hundreds of thousands of people want to learn how to read faster. And this is probably the same reason why you’re reading this material right now. You want to double or even triple your reading speed, don’t you?
But hold your horses…
Do you know that the “speed reading game” is not just about being able to read ten encyclopedias per hour? (Ok, slightly exaggerated). Most people who want to read faster make one fundamental mistake and it is this:
They neglect two main aspects of reading improvement that are much more important than speed. Those two aspects are comprehension and retention. Even if you know how to read 1,000 words per minute but your comprehension level remains on the same level and totally unaffected, all the speed reading skills you have are useless. And even if you know how to read faster and able to comprehend most of what you read, if you don’t develop your retention skills, then all your reading efforts are in vain.
Why? Because without working on your comprehension and retention skills, no matter how fast you read, you’ll instantly forget everything afterwards!
It is important for you to learn how to improve in three important areas: reading speed, comprehension, and retention. In later articles I will show you the entire reading improvement shebang. This could mean that you’ll read a little bit slower than some “magic speed readers” out there, but you’ll be able to comprehend and remember more details from every reading material that you set your eyes on…starting now! Most importantly, your current reading speed will double, triple, or increase much faster than that!
The # 1 Speed Reading Crime
The most notorious speed reading “violation” is the act of reading word for word (verbatim). Reading verbatim may be a good thing when you’re reciting a poem, or when you’re testifying in court…but it’s a “carnal sin” when you’re trying to read faster! You see, when you read verbatim, silently or out loud, you automatically eliminate the possibility of reading faster because you’re focusing on one word at a time. Not only that, whenever you do the verbatim routine, your comprehension and retention levels fall to an all time low!
Why do comprehension and retention decrease when you’re reading word for word?
Simple. When reading, the human brain usually thinks in thought units or phrases, not individual words. For example, when you read the single word “lion”, you immediately think of a cute beardy lion. However, that word alone doesn’t help you understand anything! It’s just a lion, which is unrelated to any thought, object or event. But when you begin to read in thought units such as “the lion beneath the trees”, then if you treat those single phrase as one unit (instead of five separate words), your comprehension will increase, and so does your reading speed.
We’ll talk about advanced reading techniques in upcoming articles. For now, get rid of the habit of reading word for word. It’s one of the fundamental hindrances to speed reading! You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll better enjoy and appreciate written text when you finally get rid of this “reading word for word” habit and start your path towards faster reading.