A question that is often asked of speed reading trainers is whether or not anyone can improve their reading speed. The simple, straightforward, answer to this question is “yes”, they can. However, this is not to say that the leaner will not have to provide some input of their own: after all, all learning is a form of trade-off. In this regard, the following are seen as the four essential elements that a student of speed reading will need to bring with them if they want to learn to speed read:
1. A desire to improve
Strange as it may seem, not everyone is willing to accept that there is a better method of reading than the one currently being used by the student. Most likely, the student has learnt their current reading method at a very formative age – probably on their mother’s knee. As a result, it can be hard to try and convince students to adapt to new methods of reading, a skill we see as so fundamental, none of us is really willing to accept that we do not know how to do it, and do it well, already. Therefore, a real desire to improve your reading speed is the first essential element you’ll need to bring with you to class.
2. A willingness to accept new ideas
Another concept that we learn in our formative years is to sound out our words (technically called subvocalize) as we read them. In part this is done so that we learn how to pronounce the word, not read it! However, in later life this habit can be extremely difficult to break. But, if you want to be able to improve your reading speed, it is a habit you will have to break.
In addition, most of are taught at some stage in our life that if we have not comprehended, or understood, what we have just read, to go back and reread the passage. Again, this is a habit which speed reading courses see as a no-no. You will have to discard it if you want to improve your reading speed. However, it’s not easy to do.
Finally, whichever of the speed reading methodologies you select to learn, it is likely that you’ll need to learn to read large chunks of information at the same time, or to skim read. As children we are taught that these practices are not good for us – we will likely miss information, or misinterpret it.
As you can see then, a willingness to accept new ideas is going to be essential if you want to learn to improve your reading speed.
Although motivation may be considered similar to desire, the essential difference is that not only do you need to have the desire to learn, but you need to keep that desire for, potentially, a long period of time. In practice, learning the proper speed reading technique only takes a very short time. But the real test is in having to practice and practice everyday.
This means that a student of a speed reading course is going to need to maintain the motivation to learn how to improve their reading speed over a prolonged period. Indeed, some would argue that you never stop learning to improve your reading speed.
The adage is “practice makes perfect”, and nowhere is this adage more appropriate than in the reading learning process. Anyone who wishes to improve their reading speed is going to have to practice over prolonged periods.