Is speed reading for everyone?
A common question asked in speed reading circles is whether or not having the ability to speed read is suitable for everyone. The straightforward answer to this question is: "yes". The more complex answer is: "it depends".
Below we set out some of the circumstances under which it may be beneficial to be able to speed read and other circumstances where it may not be so beneficial to be able to speed read:
When it is beneficial to speed read
Essentially, the great joy of being able to speed read is the ability to take in large volumes of data over as short a period as possible. Consequently, those of us who find ourselves in circumstances where we need to read excessive amount of information in a short period of time; and, importantly, to comprehend that material at the same time, will benefit from this skill. Such persons include:
* School students:
School students are ideal candidates for speed reading skills because they are at an age where they can still absorb new concepts and ideas, whilst also having the need to have advanced reading skills in order to be able to read lots of school texts;
* College students:
As with school students, college students need to be able to read lots of textbook material in a short space of time. Therefore, the ability to be able to speed read is an important and useful skill.
* Work employees:
Those of us who are working "white-collar" clerical jobs certainly need to have the ability to speed read as this will cut-down on an otherwise very long day. With almost all of the world's reading material being generated in offices, as faxes, memos, letters, reports, etc. being able to speed read becomes more important as time progresses, not less!
* English language students:
As speed reading skills enable you to comprehend what you are reading better, English language students are an often quoted group of people who benefit from the ability to be able to speed read.
With the amount of advertising in modern magazines, the ability to speed read is vital if you want to read this month's magazine before next month's issue! And, that's nothing compared to Sunday's edition of the newspaper. Can you image trying to read Sunday's paper without speed reading skills? - Well, it simply cannot be done these days!
In short, it doesn't really matter what stage of your life you are at, the ability to be able to speed read is an essential one.
Occasions when speed reading may not be beneficial
Having said that speed reading is an essential element no matter what stage you are at in your life, there are a number of circumstances under which it may not be overly beneficial to be able to speed read. These include:
* If you have a reading problem:
Speed reading techniques use cluster methods. This is to say, the reader needs to group whole paragraphs together and skim read them. However, if a person has a reading disability that doesn't allow them to be able to process the clustering of paragraphs easily, then this may result in a feeling of embarrassment, discomfort, or even slowness. In such circumstances, it is far better for the confidence of the reader if they resort to traditional methods of reading each word on the page word-by-word.
Care needs to be taken at what age a student starts to learn to speed read as certain clinical studies have shown that students who try to learn to speed read too early can be left with counterproductive problems - such as dyslexia. As such, it is not recommended that children below 10 learn to speed read.
In certain circumstances some readers who speed read are left with a loss of comprehension of the reading material, rather than more. If this is the case, then invoking speed reading skill may be counterproductive.
To sum it up, like most things in life, the ability to speed read is something most of us should try to conquer, which is not to say that it is necessarily beneficial to all of us, nor that we should invoke it at all times.
Learn it and use it to your advantage, as and when is needed.
About the Author
Melvin Ng teaches speed reading through his 16-Minute Speed Reading Audio Program. This breakthrough technique Guarantees to Double your reading speed in just 16 minutes!