Does speed reading take the joy out of reading?
A common enough remark is that speed reading takes the joy out of reading. However, is this entirely fair? Would it not be fairer to say that being able to speed read actually increases the joy of reading? To answer this, we need to look at some of the reasons why we are speed reading in the first place!
It should always be in the forefront of your mind that speed reading is a skill. It is adopted when certain circumstances arise and it is not always necessarily a skill you need to invoke each and every time you read something.
An example, if you are curled up in bed reading the latest thriller novel, it is unlikely you are going to want to be speed reading. The reason: first, because you have spent a lot of money on the novel and so want to make it last; second because part of the atmosphere that you have set in which to read is one of relaxation and taking things easy.
If we now transfer the scene to one where we are reading the latest financial report from ABC Company Limited, even if we are doing this in bed, the environment in which we are reading has dramatically changed.
The need and reason why we read the text in these two scenarios is not the same. In the former we are at leisure. In the later we are in professional mode. Clearly in the later, where we want to be done with the reading and off to sleep, we can adapt out speed reading skills and in the former we may choose not to.
In other words, speeding reading skills are a “horses for courses” skill. Invoke them at times when you need to read something really fast, but not when you don’t need to.
Furthermore, as your retention rates are usually better with speed reading, it is often a good idea that you speed read at times when you have a special need to comprehend and retain the information you are reading. If we go back to the financial report/thriller novel example above, it is far more likely that comprehending and retaining the information in the financial report is going to be more beneficial to you, so utilize your speed reading skills at this time so that you can enhance your chances of comprehending and retaining the text.
Finally, speed reading does not have to be a cumbersome, professional, skill. It is quite possible to enjoy your time speed reading something, in much the same way as you would when reading a novel. To do this all you need do is create the correct atmosphere in which to speed read. Eliminate all distractions, such as music and chat. Do a pre-read of the materials: read the index, headings and su
eadings. Then speed read the text. Retain the information. Utilize that information.
As you can see then, having the ability to be able to speed read will allow you the choice of reading faster, or slower. It’s about having choices.