There are more books and other written works today than there have ever been before. It’s impossible to read everything ever written, but the number of words we’re expected to take in keep going up just the same. That means that speed reading is a good tool to have in your personal arsenal.
There are multiple methods for increasing your reading speed, and different approaches to reading have both benefits and drawbacks. In general, the methods that allow you to read faster don’t always provide for the same level of comprehension that slower reading allows. There are speed reading systems that claim they can get you up to reading 20,000 words per minute -- about 300 words per minute is typical for someone with no training -- but at best, that 20,000 words per minute allows only for skimming. More realistic speeds range from 600 to 2,000 words per minute.
No matter what approach a particular speed reading system takes, most start with eliminating bad reading practices such as:
- Sounding out word out loud as you read (subvocalizing)
- Re-scanning over passages already read
- Moving your eyes across the page as you read
- Using one reading speed for all reading material