Speed Reading vs Reading Efficiency

Some people claim that speed reading is impossible – that’s not exactly true. If by “speed reading” you mean reading at 2,000 or more words per minute (wpm) with 100% comprehension on all types of text, then, no, it’s not possible unless you have a photographic memory with perfect recall. Most of us don’t fall in that category.

If by “speed reading” you mean reading faster than the average adult with 75-100% comprehension on almost all types of text, then, yes, it is possible. In fact, if you apply yourself to undoing bad reading habits and learning efficient reading techniques, it is not only possible but also probable that you will learn to read faster with greater comprehension.

The average adult reads at about 250 wpm with 50% comprehension. 250 is an important number, because it is about how fast the average adult can speak. Since most individuals subvocalize (hear a “little voice” in their head that reads along with them), they are limited in their upper reading speed by how fast they can talk. It should be noted that reading with some subvocalization is not always a bad thing, i.e. when learning new vocabulary or reading complex text; however it’s inefficient if you read everything that way.

This bad habit probably comes about because when we initially learn to read, we demonstrate our proficiency by reading out loud so the teacher can hear us. When we get to the third grade and are expected to suddenly read silently, we internalize our voice to sound out the words in our head. Since there is very limited “how to read” instruction beyond the third grade, we never learn to undo this bad habit. Most of us need additional instruction to learn proper eye movements to move beyond the word-by-word method to reading groups of words at a time. This increases our fluency and our comprehension.

AceReader is more accurately described as a “reading efficiency” program than a “speed reading” program – what we teach is how to undo bad habits and how to learn new, good habits to replace them. We recognize that not everyone will be able to read at the fantastic speeds others claim that all people can; each person is an individual, and therefore, individual results vary. We understand that even if you improve your reading speed by just 50-100 wpm while maintaining good comprehension, that is progress – and success. We also understand that reading is a dynamic endeavor, and you will need to apply different rates of speed for different types or complexities of text. If you can read at 500 wpm on a novel but only 300 wpm on textbook material (with good comprehension on both), you have done a good job.

Ultimately, the choice of what type of a reader you want to be is up to you. We can provide you with a program that has the most comprehensive content, up-to-date technology, and best consumer support possible, but you have to commit yourself to becoming a better reader. A positive attitude, continual practice, and patience are essential, and they are what ultimately will result in your progress and your success.

Author: AceReader Blogger

The AceReader blogging team is made up of specialists in a number of different areas: literacy, general education, content development, and educational software. For questions about posts, please submit them in the form below. For suggestions about blog topics, please email them to blogger@acereader.com.

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