Developed and popularised in the US in the late 1950s by an educator called Evelyn Nielsen Wood, speed reading is a method that employs multiple techniques to increase a person’s reading speed, which is usually measured in words per minute (wpm). Wood created and marketed a system for dynamic reading that promised to increase a readers speed three to ten times over the average of 250-300 wpm. The teacher-turned-businessperson co-founded Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics with her husband and went on to establish 150 training outlets in the U.S. and many other countries worldwide. One of her most famous students was former President John F. Kennedy, who was a strong proponent of speed reading..

Methods to boost reading speed

The Pointer Method : This was the original way dynamic reading was approached and taught by Evelyn Wood. This simple technique instructs you to run your finger on the page under the line of text as you go along. Wood the pioneer and practitioner of this method claimed that using this she could read up to 2.700 wpm.

The Tracker and Pacer Method :  This variation of the pointer method asks you to hold a pen, with its cap still on, and track each line as you read it. Try to spend only one second on each line and track your speed for each page. Once you are habituated with this technique, it is said that you will be able to retain more information and improve your comprehension (understanding of the topic).

Things to keep in mind while reading

1. Avoid subvocalisation

An extremely common trait among readers is subvocalisation or silent speech. This can be defined as the act or process of articulating words: inaudibly while reading. By mechanically reproducing every word that you are reading, you hinder your reading speed unnecessarily. Therefore, one must take extra effort to minimize it.

 2. Set realistic goals  : Set realistic goals for every reading session and note down your progress. This will motivate you to keep on working and improving your reading speed.

 3. Practice makes perfect :  Like any skill, speed reading can only be refined through practice. The more you practice the more naturally you will be able to master this technique.

Effective speed reading is striking a balance between pace and comprehension. Best applied to reading textual data, developing this habit optimises time management

Some successful speed readers

1. A voracious reader, former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt on an average read a book a day.

2. Howard Stephen Berg from the U.S. holds the Guinness World Record for fast reading. His reading speed is 25,000 words per minute.

3. One of the wealthiest people in the world, Warren Buffett as a young businessman made it a point to read 800 to 1000 pages every day.

Picture Credit : Google 

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