Reading Speed: Learn How to Improve Yours with Speed Reading Techniques

Do you ever feel overloaded by emails, books, reports, newspapers and other information that you would like to read, but don’t have the time?

Many adults today are failing to keep up with the information that is bombarding them in today’s information-rich and complex society.


Tony Buzan, author of “The Speed Reading Book”, states that people must read at 400 wpm to be considered functionally literate. Functional literacy can be defiined as the speed required to keep up in today’s society.  

However, the average adult reads at only 240 words per minute!  This means that most people wish they had more control over the amount of material they have to read.

Some people are naturally fast readers.  For example, John F. Kennedy was reported to read at 1,000 words per minute.  Speed Reading techniques are based on how the eye and brain are able to easily process this level of words per minute and beyond.

Speed Reading is a process of training your eye to move faster across the page, turning pages faster and learning about how the brain works.  Using these techniques, you can become comfortable with new reading speeds and understand how your brain can absorb and comprehend the information at a higher rate.

PhotoReading is similar to Speed Reading, however it emphasises having the unconscious mind take in the information at speeds of around 25,000 wpm and then activating the information by asking relevant questions.

With the right instruction, learning to increase your reading speed can be fun and easy.  This article compares three books on the subject of Speed Reading/Photo Reading.

There are several key points in common across all Speed Reading courses and books:

State – Being in a relaxed, alert state of mind, which is best for absorbing and remembering the information.  Use a simple relaxation technique, such as taking a few deep breaths, before you begin. 

Reading in layers (or levels), including browsing the information before starting, doing a high level overview and even a second read-through when finished, can improve your speed, comfort and comprehension.  This layered approach may seem repetitive or slow, however it results overall in a massive increase in effectiveness and decrease in time spent reading a particular piece of material.

Speed Reading Techniques – Use your hand, finger or a pen on the page to keep your eyes moving forward.  Other techniques also include points about page-turning and information on where to find key-points in the material. 

Note Taking – In order to assimilate and remember the points made, take notes on what you have read, focussing on the key words.  Mind Maps are a good technique for this.  See this link for a: Free Mind Mapping Guide.


Speed Reading Courses.  Attending a course with a qualified instructor means you will have the confidence of knowing that you are using the techniques in the correct way.  A good Speed Reading course will cover all of the above points and take you through exercises to help with comprehension and memory, as well as increasing your reading speed.

“The Evelyn Wood Seven-Day Speed Reading and Learning Program” by Stanley D. Frank.    This book emphasises a layered reading approach.  The book and examples focus on students and using these techniques as part of a study process. 

“PhotoReading” by Paul R. Scheele.  This process emphasises state (relaxed alertness and accelarated learning state) and a change reading method – from conscious to unconscious – to achieve speeds of 25,000 WPM.  

“The Speed Reading Book” by Tony Buzan.  Tony emphasises comprehension and includes many self-tests in his book.  Tony Buzan invented Mind Mapping (the term Mind Mapping is registered trademark of Buzan centres) and includes information on how to take notes using Mind Maps.   This is the most information-rich and well-researched book of the three mentioned in this articlePsychology Articles, including information on how the eye and brain work and the history of speed reading.