Speed Reading, Reading Better

Stitching for Literacy, Maureen's embroidered flower bookmarkBookmark by Super Mo.

Do any of you have experience with speed reading?

I’ve always dismissed it as rather silly and unnecessary, thinking it might turn a peaceful relaxing activity into something exhausting and possibly aerobic, but now I’m having second thoughts. Proponents of speed reading claim it improves reading comprehension, and some even say it increases reading pleasure. Maybe that’s true. Assuming speed reading comprehension is at least equal to slow reading comprehension, more books read = more pleasure, no?

Then there’s the whole issue of the Internet providing endless quantities of information. There’s always more to search and sift through than I can handle. Reading and understanding faster would be useful.

The Literacy Company
talks about “reading better.” Ah, that sounds better than “speed reading.” I don’t have to think at all about that one; of course I want to be a better reader. Maybe better and faster go hand-in-hand.

Two detrimental reading habits described on The Literacy Company website are

  1. reading individual words and
  2. subvocalizing, which can mean mouthing the words or saying them silently in our heads.

Do you do these things? I’d really like to hear your answers. I do, and I’m a slow reader.

Without learning anything more or doing any formal exercises, I force myself to attempt reading faster. I try to consciously turn off the subvocalization and read words in chunks. Those are hard habits to break, of course, and I don’t get very far before I revert back to them, but I can get through a few sentences, and, lo and behold, I can tell you what I’ve read.

The Literacy Company claims we’re taught to read orally, but never taught to read silently, and they are two different skills. They are on a mission to teach silent reading and to have it added to school curricula.

What do you think–good idea or unnecessary?

Categories: Reading