Motivation, theory and hypothesis for practicing speed reading

Motivation is simple. My to-read list simply grows at a speed I can’t even keep track of it properly.

From a quick search on-line:

  • It seems that Evelyn Wood‘s Reading Dynamics is the most reputable in terms of endorsement by famous people.
  • Reading genius 2.0 claims itself to be more up-to-date and incorporated recently brain research results.
  • Photo Reading sounds cool (25,000 words per minute!!). But Wikipedia quoted a NASA study, Preliminary Analysis of PhotoReading: “These results clearly indicate that there is no benefit to using the PhotoReading technique.

From what I read, it seems that there are a few common things all those theories shared. Basing on empirical principal, the key of improving reading speed probably lies in these common key points:

  1. Eliminate subvocalization. This makes sense. If you read to yourself, it takes more brain processing resources.
  2. Control eye-ball movement. It will help focus attention.
  3. Perceptual Expansion. This one means to read using your horizontal eye span. It make sense in terms of that you can recognize a word without looking straight into it.

Will speed reading work or not? I don’t have an answer yet. But I will do some experiments and take some data to see if it indeed improves my reading speed.

I doubt it will help to improve the reading of articles with complex and intensive information, such as research paper or legal document. Human brain simply can’t comprehend the physics meaning of an eigenvalue solution with a single glance. But as long as I can read newspaper faster, it pays my effort.


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