Debunking Speed-Reading Myths
You may have some preconceived ideas about what speed reading is. Don’t worry, many people have erroneous ideas about the practice of speed reading, including the myths in the following list, all of which are false:
You don’t enjoy reading as much when you speed read. On the contrary! Speed reading is efficient reading. When you speed read, you’re a better reader — you get more pleasure and meaning out of the books, articles, and Web pages that you read. Many people develop a love of reading only after they learn to speed read.
You don’t comprehend as well when you speed read. Speed reading is the act of reading with higher levels of concentration. What’s more, by reading several words at a time rather than one word after the other, your comprehension increases. You can read words in context and derive more meaning from the words you read.
You skip words when you speed read. Wrong again. Speed readers don’t fixate their eyes on all the words as they read, but that doesn’t mean they skip the words. Speed reading entails reading words in clumps, or groups. You read more than one word at a time, but no word gets skipped.
You have to run your finger down the page or use a pacer when you speed read. A pacer is a visual guide, such as your finger or a pen, that marks where you read on the page. Most people have a stereotypical image of a speed reader as a crazed-looking individual dragging his finger or a pacer quickly down the page in the act of reading. However, you don’t need a pacer to speed read. A pacer can be helpful in the early stages of speed reading, but you’re wise to abandon it after you get the hang of speed reading.
To make a pacer, cut a piece of blank paper to a size that’s comfortable for you, then cut a window out of the paper that’s the size you’d like to use (a small window if you want to see just one or two words, or a larger one if you’d rather see most of a sentence). See the following figure.