S is for Speed Reading

bookshelf-1If I could acquire one realistically achievable skill, that would be effective speed reading. By effective, I mean the ability to not only read faster but to retain and comprehend the material on a level that fits with what I’m doing.

In speed reading challenges, I imagine that speed reading works because of a combination of technique and short-term retention of information. You can skim your eyes over the words and keep the information handy for a short space of time. I see that as the sort of thing that would prove useful for passing exams or getting by during a pub quiz.

What I want would be the sort of speed reading that would allow me to get through a lot of material and retain the information long term. It doesn’t have to be thorough retention of information; I could do with having the sort of grasp that means I get the essentials and know where to look if I have to take it further. Sort of like an executive summary and reference link.

The key element comes down to the speed. I tried to learn speed reading before and I did get some benefit from it. For a time, I found I could read about 100 words per minute faster than before I tried the technique. However, the material took the method further and in practice, and with practice, I should have achieved a doubling of speed or more.

If I could read 500 words a minute, I would be happy. Right now, I think I figure somewhere half of that on average. It would be a holy grail to get closer to 1,000 words per minute, but that would be brilliant for handling the low retention, short-term stuff that sometimes matters most when you have something to prepare for and don’t really need to know what it was in a months time!

I will make it an aim to return to the technique and try again, looking for a steady increase rather than just feeling satisfied with early results. Practice makes perfect – and making the quantum leap to tripled or quadrupled speeds would be remarkable and really useful.





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