Speed Reading: Speed Reading for Beginners (Calvin Horgan)

Notes & Highlights from the book:

"Reading speed is typically measured in wpm (words per minute)"

"there is some evidence to suggest that humans can comprehend around three words at a time anyway"

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"Your average reader probably reads at between 200 and 400 wpm, although estimates vary. For fast-reading college graduates and academics, this number might stretch to 600 and possible a little higher."

"People reading at a rate of 600 wpm or higher might represent less than 1% of the global population, for instance"

"six-time world champion Anne Jones set the record for speed reading at 4200 wpm. This included a level of comprehension at around 67%"

"reading does seem to be significantly more efficient than listening; most speakers and audiobooks range from about 140 wpm to 160 wpm – slower than even the lower end of normal reading speeds (~200 wpm)."

"Studies have consistently shown that skimming through a text first, along with reading through the contents in detail, before going through with a full read, can significantly improve comprehension"

"the standard recommendation of this book is to skim first and adopt a more thorough speed reading approach the second time round"

"Starting with a skim read, and delving deeper in later reads, is going to allow you to focus directly on each passage, with a clearer understanding of how it fits into the whole."

"One of the biggest factors in reading speed is practice. The evidence already shows that people who tend to read a lot of text, also tend to do so at the fastest rate. This, if nothing else, is evidence that faster reading is possible."

"an audiobook is typically paced at around 140 wpm to 160 wpm."

"average reader reads at around the 200 wpm to 400 wpm mark"

"One of the biggest factors that will affect your reading speed is practice. The more you read, the faster you will become."

"Subvocalization is the way in which almost everyone narrates a text they are reading to themselves while reading it."

"A fixation is the act of an eye fixing on a single thing for a period of time, while a saccade is the movement of the eye between fixations."

"Techniques such as Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) use technology to try and completely remove saccades, presenting words, or groups of words, in a single spot so that the eye is not required to move."

"Regression (sometimes called Visual Regression or Eye Regression) – This is the conscious movement of your eyes back across the page, to reread or scan back in order to verify or contextualize what you have already read."

"peripheral vision starts where foveal vision ends. Foveal vision is the area of vision where the human eye can achieve 100% visual acuity – normally just a small range in the center. Peripheral vision is everything outside of that."

"You can probably guess that reading relies heavily on your foveal vision. It’s likely that you can perceive between two to four words per fixation, usually. Certain speed reading techniques do promise an increase in this – particularly if you can predict what is in the text. That’s where the concept of familiarity become quite relevant to speed reading."

"Hot spots or “hot spots of information” are points in a text identified as passages which might contain particularly useful, explanatory or otherwise pertinent information."

"Hot spots, broadly, refer to paragraphs or pages rather individual sentences"

"Key words are words which signal the presence of hot spots."

"In a basic sense, reading is the transfer of stored information into your brain."

"average fixation at 0.3 seconds and the average saccade at 0.1 seconds."

"saccade provides an opportunity for the brain to process information"

"Manually measuring your reading rate is simple. Start by timing yourself reading a passage or page of text, in seconds. Next, count or estimate the number of words in the passage or page. Divide the number of words by your time in seconds, and multiply the answer by 60. The result is your average words per minute (wpm)."

"preparing, particularly for a long read, such as a book, can greatly increase comprehension, allowing you to accelerate your reading rate even further."

"When preparing to read a book, it is a very good idea to go through the entire table of contents. This should establish the structure of the book, so that you understand what to expect when reading, and can piece together your intake of information in a broader context."

"By skim reading, you can more easily form a complete picture of the book as a whole, which will improve the quality of context when reading through the text."

"skimming is not a technique to replace regular reading. Rather, it is a useful tool when trying to get a preliminary idea of a book’s contents, and isolate hot spots or key terms for further investigation."

"When skimming, try to keep your eyes at the center of the page"

"Tracing a finger, or pen, along text, is an excellent way to maintain your focus, keep a steady pace and avoid regression."

"Try to start your tracker about two words into a line and finish two words from, the end."