My first book of the year is an apt one– “Comprehensive Guide To Speed Reading,” which claims to be able to help increase its readers’ reading speed by 300 percent. The book was independently published in October 2015 on Amazon.
I completed the book on a flight from Charlotte to Detroit earlier in January. Since then, I’ve read two and a half books. Did I read those books four times faster than I would have before? Probably not. But I have picked up some techniques that I believe increased my reading speed by about 150 percent, which isn’t bad considering it only took me an hour and a half to read this book and cost me $15.
One notable takeaway from this book is in regards to the danger of sub-vocalizing. Sub-vocalizing is the a reader’s habit or inclination to pronounce each word you read in your head. This is something that I didn’t realize I was guilty of, but it was simple to fix.
Often when I read, I imagine myself reading the book to someone else– a really odd habit. This leads to spending energy both on reading the text and vocalizing it, even though I’m not actually reading out loud. If you move your lips when you read, you’re sub-vocalizing. The solution is simple enough– avoid moving your lips and imagining yourself physically reading the book, and just focus on comprehending the text.
Fixing this issue alone probably sped up my reading by more than double. But it takes some practice letting your mind break away from that habit for good.
Word chunking is another key concept discussed in this book. Word chunking is a mnemonic trick that helps users read by looking at several words rather than each word individually to increase your reading rate without loosing comprehension.
Someone practicing word chunking may spend 15 minutes trying to read a chapter of a book two words at a time, then 15 minutes reading three pages at a time, and then continue this pattern until you’re up to five or six words at a time– using your finger to scan each “chunk” as you progress. This habit, I suspect, will become increasingly beneficial with practice.
Other parts of the book discuss training your peripheral vision and scanning pages faster using your finger or bookmark– which I found harder to make sense of. Someone who was able to better implement all of the resources in this book might be able to take away more from this book than I did.
Overall, the book was a little wordy for the amount of usable information. The word “comprehensive” in its title is used rather liberally, as there’s little information beyond some of the most basic tips. Lots of fluff make this read a sometimes tedious one. But the strategies and exercises are undeniably applicable. And for the value, is a solid investment for those looking to read more in less time.
You can pick up “Comprehensive Guide To Speed Reading” on Kindle and paperback formats here on Amazon.