Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Speed reading: can we significantly increase reading rate without losing comprehension?


There is no quick fix, according to current scientific evidence. The popular techniques suggested by speed reading books (e.g. elimination of subvocalisation, avoiding regressions or "back-skipping" by force of will or by hiding "already read" words with card, trying to take in more words per fixation and reducing the number of fixations) all do more harm than good, either reducing comprehension, reading rate or both.

Important tip: look for peer-reviewed scientific studies on the subject before accepting the claims of commercial pseudo-scientific books. Also, study skills websites often don't do this, and can publish suggestions which are actually harmful.