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How to Select the Right Speed Reading Course

May 26, 2008
If you're interested in learning to speed read, you're in luck - there are a variety of courses available online that can help you to increase your natural current reading speed. According to all of the claims, these increases can go from moderate to quite dramatic. A moderate increase might be from 700 words per minute (the maximum speed at which most of us can read without any special training) to 1000 wpm or so.

To put this into perspective an average printed page might have roughly about 300 words. Reading more than three pages per minute with good comprehension is certainly fast, though not stellar - it means that you would be able to read a 300 page book in about an hour and a half. For many of us, this is good enough - reading at this rate will give you an edge in your studies and in business.

There are, however, other speed reading courses which have much more spectacular claims. Some courses claim that they can teach people to read at speeds of 10, 000 to 25,000 wpm which is at least ten times faster than with traditional and conventional speed reading techniques. The methods that these courses are teaching are completely different from those of conventional speed reading programs. For example, one speed reading course method, known as photo reading, claims that your subconscious mind can be taught to mentally 'photograph' whole or partial pages of text at an astonishing rate with almost 100 percent comprehension afterwards.

One teacher claims that children aged between 8 to 12 years old have the potential to learn to read at speeds much faster than those of adults because a child can much easier take on a new way of learning. While it is quite rare for adults to reach as reading speed of 20,000 wpm, he claims that almost every child who takes his speed reading course attains this speed within just a few sessions. If this is true, it implies that speed reading might be a skill for which there is an age-related 'window', like language aquisition.

Experts are sceptical, though, and claim that reports of reading at speeds greater than 100 wpm are exaggerated or evenfraudulent. They also claim that overall comprehension is poor - only about 50% - even at 100 wpm, making this method unsuitable for studying or work-related reading. But nobody, expert or otherwise, can adequately explain how Kim Peek - a man whose abilities have been tested extensively, and who has the remarkable ability to read two pages simultaneously, one with each eye.

He reads at amazing speeds with an astonishing 98% comprehension, a claim which no one disputes. The catch is this - Kim Peek was born without part of his brain, the corpus collosum (which co-ordinates the right and left brains). Nevertheless, his accomplishments do seem to prove what many speed reading courses claim is true - that the human mind is capable or attaining and retaining information at amazing speeds.
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