what it is? Principles of teaching speed reading, the benefits and harms of the skill, description of classes

Speed ​​reading: what is it, what is it for and how to master this skill?

Time is one of the most impor­tant resources in the mod­ern rhythm of life. More than once we have heard from some­one from our envi­ron­ment that there is a cat­a­stroph­ic lack of time, and we our­selves con­stant­ly feel this. Speed ​​read­ing skills will help you deal with a colos­sal flow of all kinds of infor­ma­tion much faster and sig­nif­i­cant­ly save the most valu­able resource — time.

On the Inter­net there are many arti­cles of the exact oppo­site sense. Some argue that speed read­ing does noth­ing, oth­ers give var­i­ous exam­ples of sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess. Let’s try to under­stand the meth­ods, work­ing tech­niques and tech­niques for mas­ter­ing the use­ful skills of speed read­ing.

What it is?

Short­hand is:

  • the abil­i­ty of a per­son to quick­ly per­ceive tex­tu­al infor­ma­tion with a high lev­el of per­cep­tion using spe­cial read­ing meth­ods;
  • a set of skills for pro­cess­ing and qual­i­ta­tive assim­i­la­tion of infor­ma­tion;
  • a use­ful tool for sav­ing per­son­al and pro­duc­tion time;
  • an effec­tive tool for the devel­op­ment of intel­li­gence and mem­o­ry train­ing.

Speed ​​read­ing is not an end in itself. It is impor­tant to be able to under­stand the essence and mean­ing of the writ­ten text while read­ing quick­ly and con­fi­dent­ly. Hav­ing mas­tered the tech­nique of speed read­ing, you can increase the speed of per­cep­tion by 3–4 times. If the aver­age speed of stan­dard read­ing of an adult is 200–250 words per minute, then with speed read­ing it increas­es to 600–700 words.

Some experts note that with speed read­ing, the per­cent­age of assim­i­la­tion of the mate­r­i­al in com­par­i­son with ordi­nary read­ing inevitably decreas­es. That is why the abil­i­ty to extract the main mean­ing from the text, to keep the mate­r­i­al in mem­o­ry and to fil­ter out irrel­e­vant points becomes espe­cial­ly rel­e­vant when speed read­ing.

Basic principles

When using the speed read­ing tech­nique, two basic prin­ci­ples apply.

  • Skim­ming. It is a visu­al search for sen­tences in the text to iden­ti­fy clues to the main ques­tion or read­ing pur­pose. The begin­ning and end of the text are read, then the first sen­tence of each para­graph, to quick­ly deter­mine if addi­tion­al detailed infor­ma­tion is need­ed for a giv­en ques­tion. It is a mis­take to think that skim­ming is a ran­dom process, because for the effec­tive­ness of read­ing, struc­ture is need­ed, more impor­tant is what is read, and not what is omit­ted.
  • Scan­ning. This is the process of find­ing the right infor­ma­tion using a mind map formed from skim­ming. For suc­cess­ful scan­ning, it must be clear how the mate­r­i­al is struc­tured and what to read so that you can find the infor­ma­tion you need. The scan includes the main the­sis, head­ings, facts, impor­tant pieces of infor­ma­tion.

The com­po­nents of speed read­ing tech­niques are spe­cial text pro­cess­ing tech­niques, search algo­rithms, text pro­cess­ing, wide cov­er­age of the text at a glance.

Why is this needed?

There is no doubt that the mod­ern rhythm of life is expe­ri­enc­ing infor­ma­tion over­load. The amount of infor­ma­tion is grow­ing almost expo­nen­tial­ly. How not to get lost in this fast flow? Numer­ous sources of infor­ma­tion — tele­vi­sion, the Inter­net, brochures, mag­a­zines, pop­u­lar sci­ence pub­li­ca­tions — every­thing is over­flow­ing with infor­ma­tion about changes in var­i­ous tech­nolo­gies, about all kinds of news, about new trends in some process­es. To remain suc­cess­ful, one must have knowl­edge in com­pet­i­tive areas, respond quick­ly to chang­ing sit­u­a­tions, and always be “afloat”.

Of course, speed read­ing is not a panacea, but to a large extent it helps to “keep abreast of the times.” In addi­tion, when read­ing quick­ly, a per­son devel­ops “bonus­es” that cre­ate addi­tion­al advan­tages in some aspects of life.

  • Mem­o­ry train­ing. With speed read­ing, the human brain begins to work at a high­er lev­el. If class­es on mas­ter­ing the tech­nique of speed read­ing become a sys­tem, the per­cep­tion and mem­o­riza­tion of infor­ma­tion are improved, mem­o­ry is trained.
  • Empha­sis of atten­tion. Speed ​​read­ing meth­ods allow you to ful­ly con­cen­trate on read­ing, not be dis­tract­ed by extra­ne­ous thoughts that are far from the mate­r­i­al being read. As a result, atten­tion is com­plete­ly direct­ed to obtain­ing infor­ma­tion from the text being read.
  • Devel­op­ment of log­i­cal think­ing. Read­ing is an exer­cise for the brain. Train­ing the brain with speed read­ing helps to sort infor­ma­tion more effi­cient­ly and form the right con­nec­tions with frag­ments of knowl­edge pre­vi­ous­ly stored in mem­o­ry. With an increase in the speed of read­ing, the induc­tance of think­ing auto­mat­i­cal­ly improves.

Benefit and harm

His­tor­i­cal­ly known facts from the life of world famous per­son­al­i­ties, albeit indi­rect­ly, are nev­er­the­less an indi­ca­tor that speed read­ing con­tributes to suc­cess and this is not a myth. Suf­fice it to say that our famous com­pa­tri­ots Max­im Gorky, Alexan­der Pushkin, Vladimir Lenin, as well as for­eign lead­ers of var­i­ous his­tor­i­cal eras, were able to read quick­ly - Napoleon Bona­parte, Theodore Roo­sevelt, John Kennedy, Karl Marx and many oth­er famous per­son­al­i­ties. It fol­lows that mas­ter­ing speed read­ing is a worth­while thing.

Speed ​​read­ing is the only method that turns on men­tal activ­i­ty simul­ta­ne­ous­ly in both hemi­spheres of the brain. The devel­op­ment of induc­tive think­ing and the speed of thought process­es dur­ing speed read­ing will allow you to track the author’s inten­tion and quick­ly cap­ture the struc­ture of the text.

Despite the obvi­ous advan­tages of speed read­ing, rec­og­nized by many of those who have mas­tered this tech­nique, the debate over exist­ing meth­ods con­tin­ues to this day. There are many oppo­nents who con­sid­er speed read­ing not read­ing as such, but view­ing texts. For the most part, oppo­nents note one, but a very sig­nif­i­cant minus - The devel­oped meth­ods for speed read­ing do not allow to ful­ly under­stand the mean­ing of what is read. Woody Allen, an Amer­i­can writer, actor and film direc­tor, a con­nois­seur of lit­er­a­ture and music, is often quot­ed in crit­i­cal arti­cles: “I read War and Peace in 20 min­utes. There is some­thing about Rus­sia.

It is not worth hop­ing to read sev­er­al thou­sand words per minute with­out los­ing under­stand­ing; one must ade­quate­ly assess the real capa­bil­i­ties of a per­son.

How to develop this skill?

Some peo­ple are able to learn speed read­ing on their own, with­out attend­ing spe­cial cours­es and train­ings. Pur­pose­ful­ness, faith in suc­cess, dai­ly train­ing accord­ing to spe­cial meth­ods will cer­tain­ly lead to suc­cess. From the start of train­ing to the acqui­si­tion of sta­ble skills, it will take some time. Psy­chol­o­gists advise for 21 days to per­form spe­cial exer­cis­es for 40–60 min­utes every day.

Under­stand­ing words and mean­ings in their rela­tion­ship, the abil­i­ty to sys­tem­atize ver­bal infor­ma­tion, devel­oped ver­bal intel­li­gence are in close inter­ac­tion with high-speed read­ing. For a more suc­cess­ful devel­op­ment of speed read­ing, it is good to get acquaint­ed with the basics of lin­guis­tics and styl­is­tics, to have a good imag­i­na­tion in order to cor­rect­ly guess what the author of the text said.

Read­ing speed is direct­ly affect­ed by sev­er­al fac­tors:

  • sub­vo­cal­iza­tion (pro­nun­ci­a­tion of the text in the mind);
  • regres­sion — return­ing to indi­vid­ual frag­ments of the text and reread­ing them;
  • lim­it­ed field of view — the area of ​​cov­er­age of the text in one stop of sight;
  • the degree of con­cen­tra­tion of atten­tion, the abil­i­ty to read with­out dis­trac­tion;
  • super­fi­cial read­ing — the abil­i­ty to quick­ly find key words and the­ses in the text.

These obsta­cles can be over­come only with the use of spe­cial skills honed by impres­sive prac­tice. Such skills are acquired by sys­tem­at­ic train­ing accord­ing to spe­cial meth­ods with the help of devel­oped exer­cis­es. Here are some work­ing tips for mas­ter­ing speed read­ing.

  • Sup­pres­sion of artic­u­la­tion (the work of the organs of speech). Allows you to get rid of sub­vo­cal­iza­tion (men­tal pro­nun­ci­a­tion of the text). This nat­ur­al process sig­nif­i­cant­ly slows down read­ing. Rhyth­mic tap­ping on the table, a qui­et count­down, pro­nun­ci­a­tion of tongue twisters, read­ing sim­ple rhymes, singing melodies with­out words are well dis­tract­ed from sub­vo­cal­iza­tion. It will not work to do any of this and at the same time pro­nounce the text in the mind, the habit will dis­ap­pear.
  • Read­ing with a point­er. Helps to get rid of regres­sive read­ing. A point­er can be a pen­cil, a stick, or just a fin­ger — as you like. The gaze should con­tin­u­ous­ly slide along the line, with­out break­ing away from the move­ment of the point­er, so as not to return to the read text again.
  • Green dot method. Trains the per­cep­tion of infor­ma­tion in the field of periph­er­al vision. On a page with text in the cen­ter, you need to draw a green dot and look at it care­ful­ly for 10 min­utes. After two weeks of such exer­cis­es, you can begin to look at the text up, down and to the side of the point, cov­er­ing as much of the area as pos­si­ble with your eyes. Words should just be seen with­out read­ing.
  • Diag­o­nal read­ing. Devel­ops the abil­i­ty to see key phras­es in the text and fil­ter out irrel­e­vant infor­ma­tion. You need to glide your eyes diag­o­nal­ly from top to bot­tom, while not return­ing to what you read and not turn­ing your eyes around. At first, it will be pos­si­ble to cov­er a few words, but time will pass, and con­stant train­ing will sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase per­cep­tion. A well-trained per­son needs only to look at a page with text to under­stand the essence of what is writ­ten.
  • Read­ing upside down text. First, a para­graph is read on an upside down page, then the book returns to its nor­mal posi­tion and the para­graph is read again. This is a work­out to increase read­ing speed.
  • The tick-tock method. Sig­nif­i­cant­ly increas­es read­ing speed. The gaze cap­tures the begin­nings and ends of the lines, and not all the words in them, this is enough to under­stand the mean­ing of what is read.
  • Gib­ber­ish prac­tice. Read­ing from right to left (gib­ber­ish read­ing) devel­ops con­cen­tra­tion. You need to start train­ing with expres­sions that are read with­out dif­fer­ence both from left to right and vice ver­sa (palin­dromes). Exam­ples: “The cat is about forty days old”, “The boar pressed the egg­plant”, etc. (in our time, such texts are easy to find), then train on ordi­nary texts.

Time for class­es should be thought out in advance. The place must be com­fort­able. It is use­less to train in places where you can­not con­cen­trate. After famil­iar­iz­ing your­self with the basic prin­ci­ples, you can start learn­ing in cours­es or try to learn how to read quick­ly on your own. There are devel­op­ments of for­eign and domes­tic authors on the devel­op­ment of speed read­ing, text­books and videos, spe­cial cours­es and train­ings.

It takes a lot of prac­tice to suc­cess­ful­ly mas­ter the tech­nique of speed read­ing. All this togeth­er will make it pos­si­ble to cor­rect­ly per­ceive and store infor­ma­tion in mem­o­ry, and in the future — to prac­ti­cal­ly use the knowl­edge gained.

At what age do you start training?

Suc­cess­ful peo­ple at all times have been and remain the object of admi­ra­tion, and often envy. Most par­ents would like to see their chil­dren suc­cess­ful in the future, and many do not just want, but try in every pos­si­ble way to devel­op a child. Teach­ing a child to read quick­ly with under­stand­ing of the text and cor­rect into­na­tion is not in the last place.

At what age should chil­dren start learn­ing to read quick­ly? There are no unequiv­o­cal rec­om­men­da­tions on this issue. Some experts believe that it is pos­si­ble to start teach­ing a child to read quick­ly from the age of 5–7. At this age, the brain is able to mem­o­rize mate­r­i­al as quick­ly as pos­si­ble, but on the con­di­tion that the child already knows how to read well in whole words, and not in syl­la­bles. Oth­er authors of the meth­ods advise start­ing train­ing at the age of 7–10, at which time chil­dren con­fi­dent­ly read the words and clear­ly under­stand what is writ­ten.

But most experts are inclined to believe that The opti­mal age to start learn­ing speed read­ing is between 10 and 12 years old. At this age, the child has a suf­fi­cient­ly devel­oped mem­o­ry, he under­stands infor­ma­tion well, remem­bers it at the speed of spo­ken speech, and is able to clear­ly retell the text.

An impor­tant and oblig­a­tory con­di­tion is the vol­un­tary desire of the child him­self to study. You can’t force a child to do exer­cis­es, noth­ing good will come of it. Teach­ing method­ol­o­gy should be select­ed accord­ing to age.

Who will benefit from this technique?

The skill of speed read­ing is nec­es­sary in var­i­ous pro­fes­sions asso­ci­at­ed with the dai­ly need to read and mem­o­rize large amounts of tex­tu­al infor­ma­tion. Speed ​​read­ing will cer­tain­ly come in handy for lawyers, teach­ers, review­ers, edi­tors, trans­la­tors — every­one whose field of activ­i­ty is relat­ed to texts. It is dif­fi­cult to over­es­ti­mate the ben­e­fits of speed read­ing for stu­dents — in the process of learn­ing they have to read and process a lot of tex­tu­al infor­ma­tion in order to pre­pare for the ses­sion and write term papers and the­ses. In school pro­grams, the amount of infor­ma­tion is also increas­ing every year.

For those mod­ern teenagers who, already in their school years, are think­ing about a suc­cess­ful future, the skill of speed read­ing will also not be super­flu­ous.


It is naive to count on imme­di­ate results and despair if, upon ver­i­fi­ca­tion, they turned out to be far from expect­ed. But if you take into account some points in time before start­ing train­ing, you can sig­nif­i­cant­ly speed up this process.

  • Read­ing with­out pri­or prepa­ra­tion is a seri­ous mis­take. First you need to ask your­self — why do you need to read the mate­r­i­al? Ques­tions are mark­ers by which the most impor­tant infor­ma­tion is extract­ed from the text. With­out ques­tions, read­ing is mean­ing­less, the text is sim­ply “absorbed”.
  • First you need to learn how to read well at the usu­al speedunder­stand and remem­ber infor­ma­tion from the first read­ing, read with­out being dis­tract­ed by any­thing, and only then begin to mas­ter speed read­ing.
  • Don’t let the thought “I can’t do it”. The opin­ion that in order to mas­ter speed read­ing you need to be super tal­ent­ed is a mis­take. No one will argue that the men­tal abil­i­ties of peo­ple vary great­ly, but every­one can learn speed read­ing with a great desire. Absolute­ly every­one has a mem­o­ry, you just need to “wake it up”, devel­op and train it so that there is no trace of fear of volu­mi­nous texts.
  • Don’t jump from method to method. you need to choose what is stat­ed in an acces­si­ble, under­stand­able lan­guage for you in order to mas­ter the tech­nique once and for all, and in the future only improve the ini­tial skills with con­stant prac­tice.

Hav­ing mas­tered the tech­nique of speed read­ing, most use it when read­ing pop­u­lar sci­ence, busi­ness or edu­ca­tion­al lit­er­a­ture.

Fic­tion and poet­ry can be read at nor­mal speed so as not to lose the effect of enjoy­ing read­ing. There are no dif­fi­cul­ties with the tran­si­tion from one way of read­ing to anoth­er.

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