Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why Speed-Reading Apps Don't Work

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the your-brain-isn't-as-quick-as-your-eyes dept.

Books 92

sciencehabit writes: "Does reading faster mean reading better? That's what speed-reading apps claim, promising to boost not just the number of words you read per minute, but also how well you understand a text. There's just one problem: The same thing that speeds up reading actually gets in the way of comprehension, according to a new study (abstract). Apps like Spritz or the aptly-named Speed Read are built around the idea that these eye movements, called saccades, are a redundant waste of time. It's more efficient, their designers claim, to present words one at a time in a fixed spot on a screen, discouraging saccades and helping you get through a text more quickly. But that's not what researchers have found."

cancel ×

92 comments

sorry, i didn't get that (3, Funny)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 3 months ago | (#46845197)

the first time i read it

Re:sorry, i didn't get that (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#46845373)

More often than conventional wisdom would suggest, things that sound correct actually are.

Reading for speed compromises comprehension.

But speed reading is still handy enough for perhaps 9 of 10 things you read, and 10% of the time it's worth slowing down and rereading.

Re:sorry, i didn't get that (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 3 months ago | (#46845453)

Reading for speed compromises comprehension.

Actually I'm not sure why that, like so many other things, could not improve considerably with practice. I know I read a lot faster now than back when I had just learned how to.

Friend of mine claims that practicing juggling improves memory (only for future memories). Something about strengthening the cooperation between left and right parts of the brain. Could be bollocks, of course, but the point stands -- lots of things can be trained, sometimes apparently far fetched methods somehow just work.

Re:sorry, i didn't get that (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 3 months ago | (#46846011)

Reading for speed compromises comprehension.

Actually I'm not sure why that, like so many other things, could not improve considerably with practice. I know I read a lot faster now than back when I had just learned how to.

Yes, obviously. Everyone becomes a faster reader with practice, but multiple studies have shown that most people "max out" at about the same rate (usually somewhere around 300 words/minute) by the time they graduate college or so.

The issue is that there are probably physical processing constraints on how our visual apparatus works (how our retinas focus, how fast our visual cortex can recognize things, how our eye movement works), as well as a maximum load for our "working memory." Sure, you can "read" faster, as in make your eyes skip (i.e., "skim") over the page, but you're not actually taking in more information.

By the time even trained speed readers reach 500-600 words/minute, their reading comprehension falls to below 75%, and at 1000 words/minute, it's much less than 50%. Basically the maximum speed is probably about 400 words/minute (or less) for most people: anyone claiming a higher speed is just skimming. For a summary of a lot of the issues involved and some further research, see here [lifehacker.com] , and for more sources, see my other post below.

Re:sorry, i didn't get that (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 months ago | (#46846257)

/. summaries do not fall within that 10%...

Simple (0)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 3 months ago | (#46845215)

The reason speed reading apps don't work is because you either know how to read fast or you don't. The average human should be able to read well over 200 - 1000 words a minute, any less and you have much bigger problems, more then an app can solve. This should be the chart for reading speed:

1. Fast: 1000+ words / minute
2. Normal 200 - 1000 words / minute
3. Slow 100 - 200 words / minutes
4. Unacceptably slow less then 100 words / minute.

People who read at less then 100 words per minute have a completely different problem that can't be solved from a simple app on a phone.

Re:Simple (4, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | about 3 months ago | (#46845321)

The reason speed reading apps don't work is because you either know how to read fast or you don't. The average human should be able to read well over 200 - 1000 words a minute, any less and you have much bigger problems, more then an app can solve. This should be the chart for reading speed:

1. Fast: 1000+ words / minute
2. Normal 200 - 1000 words / minute
3. Slow 100 - 200 words / minutes
4. Unacceptably slow less then 100 words / minute.

People who read at less then 100 words per minute have a completely different problem that can't be solved from a simple app on a phone.

1000 words per minute? Next time you pull numbers out of your ass make sure they're not a joke. No one reads anything of value at that speed. You can scan text quickly but you won't actually be reading it. Anyone claiming otherwise is likely trying to sell you a speed reading course, or stroking their ePeen on Slashdot (see half of the replies I'm going to get from alleged super speed readers).

Re:Simple (1, Funny)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 3 months ago | (#46845403)

16 words a second? That's three times faster than a 300 baud modem.

Re:Simple (3, Informative)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 3 months ago | (#46845537)

I'm fully capable of reading at 1000+ words / minute and remembering the information, so next time you want to claim it can't be done, make sure you're not talking to someone who can. I was able to read 300 words / minute in grade 6 and retain information over a 90% level. I was fair and put the average at 200 words / minute, which is still pretty slow, you have to be crawling through a book at that pace.

Re:Simple (4, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 3 months ago | (#46845971)

I'm fully capable of reading at 1000+ words / minute and remembering the information, so next time you want to claim it can't be done, make sure you're not talking to someone who can.

If you're really a person who can do this, PLEASE volunteer for one of these studies, so we actually have some reliable evidence. Because basically every previous study on this stuff says comprehension goes significantly down as reading speed goes up.

Quite a few studies have shown this (some articles summarizing findings here [theatlantic.com] , here [lifehacker.com] , here [slate.com] , here [slate.com] ), and the only ones that seem to ever disagree are those designed by the speed-reading course or software people. Even for professional high-volume readers and people who performed well in generic speed-reading tests showed a maximum of about 75% comprehension at 600 words/minute.

And there are loads of cognitive science studies that demonstrate why this must be so. Lots of research on eye movements during reading and the maximum possible speed they can take things in, the way our retinas work and focus, cognitive constraints on the extent and speed of our "working memory," etc.

By the time you get to your claimed speed of 1000 words/minute, I sincerely doubt you're getting anywhere close to 50% comprehension. Therefore, what you're doing is skimming, not reading.

There's nothing wrong with skimming. it's an incredibly useful skill which I really picked up in graduate school. I have used it all the time when teaching and (when preparing for class) needing to re-read an article I haven't looked at in a long time (and don't really remember) or a new article dealing with a subject I'm already familiar with. I can certainly skim at 1000 words/minute and be prepared to discuss a lot of important points of an article, but if a student queries me on something very specific, I guarantee that we'll have to slow down, I'll go back, and take a look at that specific passage. When you're already fairly familiar with the field or kind of material, you can often zoom on essential elements fairly quickly, and your comprehension rate gets higher -- but you're still not reading. And if you were reading something outside of your discipline, the comprehension would go WAY down at such speeds.

So -- sorry, but your claims to read at that speed and retain information have been debunked by many studies along with many other supporting cognitive science studies that basically show why it can't work.

If indeed you are some person with a freakish skill that you can demonstrate under controlled conditions, please volunteer for a study. Otherwise, I (and any other reasonable person here) should assume that what you're actually doing at 1000 words/minute is skimming, and you're probably only getting a small fraction of the total information.

Re:Simple (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 3 months ago | (#46846255)

I know exactly what you're referencing, it's the same studies I've had quoted to me by my teachers, parents and family. I'm not saying I'm better then anyone else but I've never understand the purpose of reading and comprehending in one step. The only purpose to "read" is to move the words from the page to my memory, once I finish reading what ever I want I just process the information. You can easily break 500 words / min reading in this fashion, your brain can process so much faster then your eyes. I've already been in a study for speed reading and proven it's not a joke.

Re:Simple (1)

AudioEfex (637163) | about 3 months ago | (#46846465)

And let me guess, you probably also learned to read by recognition and not phonics, right?

Your experience seems similar to mine, and that's what I have found the key difference is. I learned to read from being read to every night, and following along. When I was 2 I was reading the books back, and my family just assumed I had memorized them. Then somewhere around turning 3 they realized that I could already read - it started with picking out a sign or text and then finally someone shoved a newspaper in front of me, and while I couldn't read the entire thing I was able to read quite a bit. I was reading "chapter books" by 5. And I've been reading - a lot - ever since then, even if the format has changed (obviously a lot more online/tablet than print these days).

I think the folks saying "you are SKIMMING" may be on to something, but not what they think. Not the quality of reading, but the actual method. Looking at it (pun intended), I would assume that my "normal" reading is what some folks would refer to as "skimming". I don't sit and read every single word, I look at groups of words and see them as one. Now, I still go over all the text - skimming for me is when I'm only looking at a few sentences a paragraph.

I really started to understand this fundamental difference in how folks read when I got out into the professional workplace. Lots of very smart, clever folks (and many not so smart and clever), have very little ability to read anything longer than a few sentences and understand it. Everything has to be bullet points and brief, summary headers - this post would never work there, LOL. And a lot of these folks are a lot more traditionally educated than I am. Of course, this is a separate issue and has many factors, but just watching folks read something that is sent out and it takes them four times as long to read it and I still get more out of it than they do was actually the first time I realized that they simply read differently than I did.

Re:Simple (3, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 3 months ago | (#46846579)

Great. Again, take part in a study, please. It's all great to "self-diagnose" or test yourself with some online tool that's probably designed to sell you something. But the actual studies done by cognitive scientists and reading experts don't seem to find the speed reading claims with comprehension to be real.

Look -- I read by word groups too: anyone who is fluent in a language and reads A LOT probably does. There probably are some differences in normal reading speed for maximum comprehension (and maybe some of it has to do with the way people are taught or bad habits or whatever) -- the figures I've seen say it might vary between 200 and 400 wpm or so. But 1000 wpm for full comprehension? Nope. Not in any reputable study. And, more relevant to the present discussion, multiple studies have shown that people who train themselves using speedreading methods (like deliberately trying to avoid subvocalization or reading by groupings or whatever) don't perform any better than untrained readers who are asked to skim in comprehension tests (and sometimes trained speedreaders perform worse). There may be some gain in superficial understanding for speedreading techniques, but no demonstrated advantage over normal people skimming in terms of deep comprehension.

In sum, I have no doubt you may read faster than your coworkers on average, and your comprehension may be better. But I have serious doubts if you claim full comprehension at speeds over 500 wpm.

Re:Simple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46846763)

When I was 2 I was reading the books back...

Wow. You must be special. Here's a medal, pin it to your chest.

A lot of us were reading to ourselves when we were two. You're nothing near as special as you think you are.

Tip: reading at an early age like that has been associated with autism and traumatic brain injury.

Re:Simple (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 3 months ago | (#46848175)

I read from memorization, I only have to look over a page and I can break it down later when I need the information. I don't phonically go through and read the words in my head, I let that happen later. The only reason I even look at the page in the first place is to capture it's information. I'm not skimming, I'm actually "loading" the information into my head, I just appear to be skimming. I've read this way for years, starting in about grade 3 when I noticed that there was no reason to sit down and pronounce word by word when I could look at a page a remember it.

Re:Simple (1)

Desty (2749557) | about 3 months ago | (#46863943)

Nobody in the world has ever demonstrated such a capability under scientifically controlled conditions. All the evidence gathered to date suggests that you are lying. And that's a bit sad.

Re:Simple (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 3 months ago | (#46866603)

Actually you're completely wrong on that, the data suggests that no one can demonstrate long term photographic memory, which is true. If I read a book today, I can probably recall the content for about a week or so, after that it will start to slip and certainly by a mouth or two out I'll retain very little of the information I read over. However that also doesn't matter, usually is something is important enough to remember longer then a week out, you'll have to read it more then once.

Re:Simple (1)

Desty (2749557) | about 3 months ago | (#46914119)

Actually you're completely wrong on that, the data suggests that no one can demonstrate long term photographic memory, which is true. If I read a book today, I can probably recall the content for about a week or so, after that it will start to slip and certainly by a mouth or two out I'll retain very little of the information I read over. However that also doesn't matter, usually is something is important enough to remember longer then a week out, you'll have to read it more then once.

Actually you are completely wrong about that. The data suggests that no one can demonstrate even SHORT term photographic memory.

You stated that you can "look over a page" and "load" all the information into your memory before comprehending it. This is an utterly ludicrous claim. You also stated that you can read at over 1000 WPM with very high comprehension. Also a laughable claim that is not supported by any scientific studies.

Re:Simple (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 3 months ago | (#46846591)

I've already been in a study for speed reading and proven it's not a joke.

Fantastic! I've provided some citations for my claims. Where's your study published? I'm absolutely serious, and I do NOT take this as a joke. I find this area of interest, and if you have something reputable that contradicts what I said, I want to know about it.

Oh, and by the way, the whole thing about the brain going faster than the eyes -- that's probably true for most folks, particularly non-expert readers. But there are limits to cognitive processing speeds, and most experts in visual/language processing see this as the ultimate "speed limit." It may vary from person to person, but I get the sense that most experts are pretty skeptical of anyone claiming full comprehension above 400-500 wpm. Again, any citations that dispute this would be welcome.

Re:Simple (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 3 months ago | (#46848215)

I'm going to find the study if I can, I've been in several, the first was in grade 5, the second was in grade 9 and the last one was in university. If I can find the link to the study I'll share it with everyone, I have nothing to hide or worry about, hell I'll even redo the study if someone comp's my time for it.

As I've said in another post, you only have look at a page and remember it, there is no point to read phonically, it's much more efficient and practical to read from images. Most people read by going through a paragraph and reading it to themselves, I read by looking at the page and taking a snapshot of it in my head, it's hundreds of times more efficient as I don't have to process the information phonically at run time, I can "compile" it and store it for later.

If you're talking about reading a page phonically then yes you will run up to the 500 wpm limit, this is a major draw back to not reading using snapshots. I'm at work right now but when I have more time I'll search for the information I'm referencing.

Re:Simple (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 3 months ago | (#46848593)

I'm going to find the study if I can, I've been in several, the first was in grade 5, the second was in grade 9 and the last one was in university. If I can find the link to the study I'll share it with everyone

I look forward to reading it.

As I've said in another post, you only have look at a page and remember it, there is no point to read phonically, it's much more efficient and practical to read from images. Most people read by going through a paragraph and reading it to themselves, I read by looking at the page and taking a snapshot of it in my head, it's hundreds of times more efficient as I don't have to process the information phonically at run time, I can "compile" it and store it for later.

Yeah, now you're talking about a completely different phenomenon. You're no longer claiming to be a speed reader. Instead, you're claiming to have an eidetic memory. Those aren't the same thing. A speed reader would process the information as a normal reader would, though at a faster rate, and would be able to answer questions about the reading with the retention capabilities of a normal person.

But you're claiming to have an eidetic memory -- if so, you should not only be able to "read" quickly, but be able to actually quote the page you "read" back word-for-word without errors. If you can't do that, you haven't really "loaded the page image" into your memory for later processing as you claim.

In either case, I'm now even more skeptical than before. Lots of people claim to have eidetic memories too, but basically all studies and attempts to get someone to do this under controlled conditions tend to fail. The people who claim they can do it turn out not to really have a "photographic memory," but rather are very efficient at information processing (as in speed reading, or at least some version of it) -- because when such people are asked to recall a text or an image with nonsensical patterns, they simply can't.

Until you quote a study, I'm done with this discussion. As far as I'm concerned, I appear to have wasted my time having a discussion with some random troll on the internet... claiming to have superpowers. Cheers!

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46849189)

As far as I'm concerned, I appear to have wasted my time having a discussion with some random troll on the internet... claiming to have superpowers.

"Troll" is a bit harsh, because most of the time it's not intentional behavior. It's just that this is how almost all online discussions play out when one party is scientifically literate and the other isn't. It doesn't matter what the topic is. As long as one thinks the rational, scientific process is the gold standard, and the other thinks personal experience and intuition are paths to truth, there's not much point in discussing anything.

Re:Simple (1)

Desty (2749557) | about 3 months ago | (#46863999)

Agreed. There's only been one scientifically controlled study that suggested anything remotely like an eidetic memory, and the subject ("Elizabeth") later married the scientist running the study. Then they refused to participate in any further experiments. So, in effect, nobody in the world has ever successfully demonstrated either an eidetic memory, or (much less) an ability to read significantly faster than average while maintaining decent comprehension. Any anecdotal arguments (for example, Murdoch5's frankly laughable claims) otherwise are almost certainly pure Munchausen-esque nonsense and should be disregarded with prejudice.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46846755)

I'm not saying I'm better then anyone else

But you are.

Get some professional assessment done and come back with some actual proof of your claims, otherwise you're only making subjective anecdotal claims.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46851377)

I know exactly what you're referencing, it's the same studies I've had quoted to me by my teachers, parents and family.

GPP provides four hyperlinks and you expect us to believe that - independently - you have had the same studies sent to you by

a) teachers
b) parents
c) family (presumably, other than parents)

You clearly can't write clearly, so I doubt you read well either. What surprises me the likilihood that these groups would all reference the same studies as GPP. My teachers almost never sent me hyperlink studies but I've been out of school 16 years. Maybe my PhD advisory, but only on shit pertinent to my work, not speed reading bullshit. My parents, never sent shit like that. My family (aside from parents), has never done similar things. Perhaps you meant to throw "friends" into that grouping.

I'm not saying I'm better then anyone else but I've never understand the purpose of reading and comprehending in one step.

What you are better at than many others is lying. It is a common skill to have, but on the internet, it is easy to see you for what you are.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46851735)

The only purpose to "read" is to move the words from the page to my memory, once I finish reading what ever I want I just process the information.

But then you didn't really finish reading when you put away the book (or other text). You finish reading once you have processed the information. So you'd have to take that time into account as well.

So say you read 1000 words in a minute and then it takes you another minute to process it "offline", your actual speed would be 500 words per minute.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46847055)

There's a strange whiff of bovine excrement emanating from your direction.

Re:Simple (1)

fiziko (97143) | about 3 months ago | (#46845891)

Reading speed also depends greatly on the complexity of the text being read. I've taught grade five students, given them new selections and timed them, testing comprehension afterwards. The fastest I've seen (by a HUGE margin) was around 1400 words per minute with over 80% comprehension. That exceptional student could read and comprehend college level novels, so grade 5 was a joke, but he couldn't read the college level stuff at more than 250 words per minute.

Can you read the last novel you read at over 1000 words per minute? Not unless you are a hell of a lot faster than I can if you're also understanding it. (I top out around 750 wpm for the grade-9 level stuff you tend to see day to day.) Can you read kindergarten level text that quickly? Almost certainly, yes.

The original poster may have seen those numbers in a seemingly reliable source. Without grade levels involved, the numbers are meaningless. That doesn't mean the poster pulled them "out of his/her ass," but it does mean context is lacking.

Re:Simple (1)

slugstone (307678) | about 3 months ago | (#46846057)

Reality? Someone here might know what they are talking about.. Please turn in your /. card and call it a day. :-)

Re:Simple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46845357)

I bet you just love it when faggot men shit on your face.

Re:Simple (1)

presspass (1770650) | about 3 months ago | (#46845525)

What if you're reading AND juggling?

Re:Simple (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 3 months ago | (#46845567)

HAHAHA well I can't juggle so I don't know, but if I could I'd figure that would slow me personally down to less then 100 w/min.

Re:Simple (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 3 months ago | (#46850001)

People who read at less then 100 words per minute

... still write better than you?

Re:Simple (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 3 months ago | (#46850213)

If you seriously are calling out than vs then, well you're just a duck.

I can understand why the apps don't work (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46845241)

Now could someone tell me why we continue to feed ghetto rats and trailer trash since they don't work either?
 
Let those bitches starve to death!

Step 1: stop discouaging them from working (0)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#46845465)

-1 Troll, but I've got some troll-chow handy so what the hell:

Maybe because you are one of the beneficiaries of a completely artificial system (a.k.a. a society) which creates a soci-economic "quicksand" that's easy to get trapped in? Don't yank away the social safety net away whenever people try to climb out of it, and you'll get a lot fewer people who decide to languish in it. We may disagree over whether having a safety net at all is a good idea, but I suspect you can also recognize that having a wide gulf between when the safety net disappears and when you can actually provide a similar amount of security for yourself presents a *huge* disincentive for people to try to improve their situation.

And it's completely stupid to boot. Take something like food stamps - it would be rather trivial to adjust tax rates such that you could give everyone $200/month in food stamps with minimal change to any self-supporting person's total government tax/benefit balance. And by doing so you've not only removed one of the disincentives to pulling yourself up by your bootstraps (losing food stamps just as you leave the ground), you've also virtually eliminated all the bureaucracy associated with validating eligibility. Ditto with something like socialized medicine. Go ahead and limit it to cheap, well-established treatments - broken bones and easily treatable infectious diseases cover the vast majority of conditions most children and working-age people face, and having free treatment for such would take a lot of the profit out of the medical insurance scam. Leave insurance and huge private medical bills to those few who are wish to protect themselves from the expensive long-shots.

There's another reason this doesn't work. (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 3 months ago | (#46845255)

When I read a page, I can actually see multiple words in a sentence, context from the line(s) above, and generally can access a context of about 10-15 words at a time. While speed reading (as in, actual speed reading a page), you read by going down the center of the page, which preserves a good chunk of the context, and assumes that missing a few words here and there is only going to minorly impair your understanding of the text.

This, on the other hand, provides a minor speed-up at the cost of context, the ability to back-track and no ability to skip words that don't help much with understanding like various particles or flowery prose.

Yep, this approach is idiotic.

Re:There's another reason this doesn't work. (5, Interesting)

Xicor (2738029) | about 3 months ago | (#46845921)

i actually had my speed and comprehension increase with one of these apps. im dyslexic, so when i read paragraphs i lose my place consistently and have to reread just to understand anything. i dont have the same issue if im only reading one word at a time

Re:There's another reason this doesn't work. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46846181)

This is an interesting counterpoint. I can definitely see this used from an accessibility standpoint.

Re:There's another reason this doesn't work. (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 3 months ago | (#46846637)

Hadn't thought about that - good to know.

Re:There's another reason this doesn't work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46847353)

Thank you for that information. I hope you don't mind that this information will be passed onto other's with dyslexia

Re:There's another reason this doesn't work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46846823)

I am dyslectic, and I am not sure if that has anything to do with it.

But I tent to speed read all the time, i.e. my eye travels from sentence to sentence and then pick out a few words in my peripheral vision and read those before going to the next sentence. It is great for reading technical documents, papers, manuals, tutorials. Although I can be caught off guard by negative; although my brain seems to pick out negativity words and warns me to read such sentences more carefully.

However it sucks for novels, for some books I have to read each page three times and that is really tiring. Strangely enough it does depend on the writer, I had no problems with books like Dune, maybe they have a more consistent sentence structure.

Speed reading (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#46845265)

When I was in high school, they had machines that presented text one line at a time at a set speed. The idea is that we were to gradually speed it up to force us to read faster. There would be a brief comprehension test after which was more of a short term retention test.

Then there was reading texts normally (free reading) and seeing how fast you were reading without the machine.

The result of that was that I could read much faster than natural if I pressed it and my natural speed improved by about 10%. I find that I rarely care to press it as it gives me little time to think about what I'm reading and so poor long term retention so it's good mostly when I need to do more than skim but just need to find a bit of information for immediate use.

Of course, the far more useful 10% increase in natural rate doesn't make as big a bullet point.

Re:Speed reading (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 months ago | (#46845367)

I find that I rarely care to press it as it gives me little time to think about what I'm reading and so poor long term retention so it's good mostly when I need to do more than skim but just need to find a bit of information for immediate use.

Reading speed shouldn't be forced. It should be enabled. For example, by using short sentences, simple words and sufficient punctuation.

Re:Speed reading (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 3 months ago | (#46845409)

>Reading speed shouldn't be forced. It should be enabled. For example, by using short sentences, simple words and sufficient punctuation.

Or a good book.

Re:Speed reading (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#46845555)

Actually, I prefer to slow down when reading good fiction. It provides for a more detailed imagination of the scene.

Re:Speed reading (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 3 months ago | (#46845419)

Goodthink, comrade. Upsub rewriting Newspeak to Minitrue. Reading plus-speedwise ensures goodthink.

Re:Speed reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46846771)

Here are some simple words for you: you are a complete idiot.

Simple, because otherwise you might not comprehend them. That's how much an idiot you are.

Re:Speed reading (2)

visualight (468005) | about 3 months ago | (#46846263)

In the summer after second grade (1975) I was sent to summer school with about 20 other kids that were identified as 'gifted readers'. The entire summer was spent on speed reading.

They had a projector that scrolled text in a marquis fashion, and over the summer they gradually dialed it up. There were tests daily and the test results affected the speed of the next days scroll.

Back in the 90's I searched in vain for an app that would do the same thing. Recently when I heard there were several new speed reading apps available I optimistically looked into them (for my grand daughter), but unfortunately they were all using the same stupid approaches these apps (nee programs) were using 15 years ago.

I usually read a novel in 4-8 hours, and I usually read it all in one go. I really don't like to break up a book. I never skim or 'try' to read faster, and in my mind, reading the book is like watching a movie.

Re:Speed reading (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 3 months ago | (#46847395)

I usually read a novel in 4-8 hours, and I usually read it all in one go. I really don't like to break up a book. I never skim or 'try' to read faster, and in my mind, reading the book is like watching a movie.

While this is great and all, I'm not sure what it has to do with speed reading. Most novels are 60,000-100,000 words. 8 hours is 480 minutes. 100,000/480 = 208 words per minute. That's not speed reading. That's a pretty normal reading pace (admittedly a bit quick to sustain for 8 hours, hut hardly speed reading). Even if you only read novels that are at least 50% longer than the norm, that would only take you to about 300-350 words/minute, which is still in the normal reading range (though the speed of faster readers).

Just for comparison, if you were reading at 600 wpm or so, which is usually a "low" speed for people who claim to speed read, you'd be able to read War and Peace in about 16 hours, which is maybe 6-7 times as long as the average novel.

Re:Speed reading (1)

visualight (468005) | about 3 months ago | (#46855227)

I did say that I -never- try to read faster...

Before your reply I never looked up such info. I have always been convinced that I read 10-20 % faster than average, and now I know better.

Yet I remain convinced that I read faster (without effort) because of that experience after 2nd grade.

I can't speak for everyone ... (5, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | about 3 months ago | (#46845313)

Though the article does note that this is the case for a lot of people, but the big advantage of reading over other media (e.g. audio or video) is that reading is self-pacing. When reading information rich texts, it allows me to gloss over details that I already know while focusing upon details that I don't. When I'm in a lousy state of mind (e.g. having difficulty concentrating due to lack of sleep or external concerns) it allows me to slow down. When I'm in a good state of mind (e.g. I'm motivated to read the text or am well rested) it allows me to speed up.

Simply put: I read rather than watch or listen because my mind is in control of the flow of information.

Re:I can't speak for everyone ... (-1, Offtopic)

ZALTA888 (2968617) | about 3 months ago | (#46846293)

http://saudi-clean.com/%D9%83%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudi-clean.com/%D8%B4%... [saudi-clean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] https://twitter.com/haitham_fa... [twitter.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D9%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D9%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D9%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D9%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D8%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D9%... [saudihomeclean.com] http://saudihomeclean.com/%D9%... [saudihomeclean.com]

Re:I can't speak for everyone ... (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 3 months ago | (#46848789)

Definitely this. I hate video manuals. It can help when you're being shown something that is a continuous process like throwing a pot but for point by point assembly instructions for example, it's very annoying.

Re:I can't speak for everyone ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46884931)

Oh this forum seems it might be easy entry unlike most needing membership may allow my contributions I hope, we'll see.
Love to share all my knows but I can only type so much here I figure-
Little friends I had & always be in my life +self enhancing mind abilities is nearly the only thing left going for me therefore I have no other option it make anything of myself but the use of my mind in this lifetime, since I had major physical injuries from once being a wrestler, I would do anything to not live with such physical disabilities, so basically I can only live to breath my own mind power every day 24/7.

The human ear can comprehend electronic spoken audio text up to about 700wpm considering superior control of phonetics to lyrics in comparison to human efforts alone, like the world record fast speaker's do up to 500wpm you just can't understand them like a drunken night out of a pub their speech is slurred missing most of the vowels to go with the consonants listen to their slowed down version of recorded speech on tape.
Like training wheels for the faster readers mind Audio & video today can be quite extensively self-paced actually, though does have limits for the speed-reader's 1000+ wpm (iPad's text to speech limit is 450wpm, VLC media play can excel up to 4 times faster maintaining audio clarity with captions/subtitles following along with film + chapter or drag scroll anyway in film) new future tech coming along is called (Finger-Reader) no this isn't a joke using just only your finger to read; it's a physical narrator to any printed text spoken out loud where you fit it like a ring on your finger it has a camera that sees the text to finger where it should speak the text as fast as you move your finger at the moment it's in prototype phase develop by MIT supposedly for the visually impaired though maybe to quicken up our reading fluency -heck there is even auto-summarize of text in MS word - information flows like water -you become the speed-reader, though I rarely rely on audio to text for my speed-reading practice just saying there are alternatives for the non-speed-reader to improve -if not make us assimilate faster without putting in the practicing time to become a speed-reader for fast information flow (be like water my friend quoted Bruce Lee) LOL

Many methods to speed reading (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 3 months ago | (#46845315)

Perhaps someone can pick apart a speed reading idea I've had for awhile and tell me what's wrong with it:

I envision a system where you have a physical book and an audio book. You would read the book while listening to the audio book. Slowly, you would increase the speaking rate of the audio book and work to match your reading speed. Double re-enforcement. Ultimately you would no longer need an accompanying audio book.

This is effectively how we learn to read as toddlers.

Re:Many methods to speed reading (4, Informative)

Bysmuth (1362639) | about 3 months ago | (#46845621)

As someone who works in a lab that studies language use, I accept your challenge. :) (Full disclosure: The authors of the paper in question are friends and colleagues of mine.)

I'm not trying to be flippant, but I'm honestly not actually sure why your idea *would* increase reading speed. Many speed reading techniques are predicated on the idea that the problem with reading is subvocalization (saying words to yourself as you're reading them), and that one of the ways to improve reading speed is to eliminate subvocalization. Your idea sounds like it would try to speed up reading by speeding up subvocalization - a different approach, though perhaps a related one. But I think the premise that subvocalization is bad for reading - that it constitutes a bottleneck to be discarded - is akin to the idea that regressions (looking back in the text to words you've already read) are bad for reading, which is the idea that the paper in question tries to debunk. With the possible exception of people with certain kinds of reading disabilities, it's generally not the case that our eyes need to be trained to move faster: The biggest bottleneck is that your brain can only process so many words per second.

If you think about it, reading is an incredibly complex process. With every word you read, you have to look at a sequence of letters, figure out what they are based on their shapes, identify the corresponding word, retrieve its meaning, and integrate it into the context of the discourse. All of that takes time. Moving your eyes across more and more letters each second is not going to help you process the words any faster. Suggestions to the contrary are equivalent to saying that if a sink drains too slowly, you should add water to the sink at a faster rate. That contributes only to the problem, not to the solution.

Re:Many methods to speed reading (1)

ian_mackereth (889101) | about 3 months ago | (#46845699)

So, there should be a fairly strong correlation between reading speed and IQ, assuming that there's no other factors like dyslexia or lack of access to reading material early in life?

Has that been tested?

Of course, practice is a big determinant in reading speed, and it's a feedback loop. I know people who read slower than they can talk, and they find reading for pleasure to be a foreign concept.

Re:Many methods to speed reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46848621)

Nope.
IQ is mostly based on how whether or not you know if a dime is 10, 5, or 1 cents.
It's a pretty useless metric for telling how well someones brain is working.

Re:Many methods to speed reading (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 3 months ago | (#46845985)

I'm honestly not actually sure why your idea *would* increase reading speed.

It's very simple. As you suggest, the bottleneck is in the brain's ability to process the information rapidly, not in eye movement, for most readers. Therefore, whether you learn to speed "read" with audio or text, doesn't really matter. It's the back-end processing that needs improvement in both cases, and it's the same back-end. Improving one will improve the other.

Re:Many methods to speed reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46846797)

If only it were as simple as a web server.

Re:Many methods to speed reading (2)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 3 months ago | (#46845935)

I had a very similar idea, and it will work. Really. By the way, the poster above, Bysmuth, is dead wrong, labs and all. Feel free to contact me (Bill Cox - waywardgeek@gmail.com) if you need me as a reference to support this idea.

One of my contributions to open source and the blind community has been improving speech speedup algorithms [vinux-project.org] . I listen at > 600 wpm, and have a blind friend who listens at double that. As part of this, I've done numerous A/B tests on many subjects (friends, family and acquaintances), trying to figure out what works for them. Here's what I found. First, anyone who is already a high speed reader also very rapidly becomes able to listen at high speed. This is 100% correlated, after maybe 100-ish tests. I found no counter examples, and the strength of listening speed ability increases with the subject's reading speed. While some speed readers do not hear a voice while reading, it must still using the speech centers in their brain, because high speed readers are already prepared for speed listening, whether they claim to vocalise or not. There are other contributing factors, most notably age. I am the only non-blind person I know who learned to be comfortable speed-listening after the age of 40, though I do have a strong central vision loss issue. Every test I did on with anyone over 40 backed up the fact that speed readers are also naturally speed listeners, but the > 40 crowd is almost violently opposed to speed listening, while the under 40 crowd thinks it's cool. I know... that's such an objective scientific observation :-)

Also, I found that non-blind listeners who force themselves to learn to speed listen (including me), discover that their regular reading speed increases naturally. People can argue all day long about vocalisation being good/bad while reading, but the fact is that the same centers in the brain are used regardless. If you train to listen fast, your reading speed will increase, and vise-versa. This is the single most obvious conclusion I have been able to draw. It's a very real effect.

Another interesting point is that young people will, given a chance, naturally turn up the audio speed over time while listening to good books, very much like we see kids reading faster as they read a good series.

Reading a story both visually and audibly in parallel should enable a reader (whether mostly using their eyes or ears) to focus on the story the way that is more natural for him, and as he goes faster over time, his regular reading speed will increase, regardless of his preference for audio or printed text.

Re:Many methods to speed reading (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 3 months ago | (#46846083)

Another interesting, yet annoying case is my daughter, who I used as a subject for speed listening so often that she not only listens fast (she was already a pretty faster reader), but she's decided to talk fast, too. I don't know if this is a potential pitfall in your scheme :-)

Re:Many methods to speed reading (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 3 months ago | (#46846155)

Just for fun, if you want, go listen to the first chapter of the audio book I just read [waywardgeek.net] This is a 3.5X speedup of a voice that already reads above 150 wpm normally. It's probably around 600 wpm.

Re:Many methods to speed reading (1)

Bysmuth (1362639) | about 3 months ago | (#46849347)

That's pretty cool. Most of my research focuses more on language production than on language comprehension and reading, so I'm happy to defer to someone who has more directly applicable experience looking at these kinds of questions.

Just a brief note: It turns out there's a whole body of research into the question of whether listening to text while reading it improves various measures of reading performance. (If you search for "listening-while-reading" on Google Scholar, you'll find a large number of papers, many behind paywalls.) Some seem particularly relevant to the questions raised above; e.g.:

Shany, M. T., & Biemiller, T. (1995). Assisted reading practice: Effects on performance for poor readers in Grades 3 and 4. Reading Research Quarterly, 30, 382-395. doi: 10.2307/747622

Abstract:

Examined effects of assisted reading practice over a 4-month period with at-risk 3rd- and 4th-grade children. 10 subjects read basic materials orally and were assisted with word identification by a teacher. Nine subjects read while listening to a tape recorder whose speed they could control. Assisted practice significantly improved text reading rates and reading comprehension scores of both experimental groups compared to a control group, although gains in letter-naming speed, decoding, and reading speed for words out of text did not reach statistical significance. Listening while reading resulted in twice the amount of reading as the other method and led to higher scores on listening comprehension measures. Gains in reading comprehension were larger when there was a large pretreatment difference between listening comprehension and reading comprehension.

Re:Many methods to speed reading (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 3 months ago | (#46853839)

Very cool! Thanks for the abstract and the tip for how to track down research. The abstract sounds about right to me. It's kids with reading difficulty that may benefit the most from combining listening and reading, with adjustable speed. I find that kids seem to have a different difficulties in early reading, and if it is too difficult, they wont start reading chapter books, and it is difficult for them to naturally ramp up their reading speed. Some audio help at that stage might help a lot.

appropriate (4, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 months ago | (#46845331)

tl;dr

Re:appropriate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46845519)

"I was elected to lead! not to read!"

Re:appropriate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46845651)

i never did understand what tl;dr meant. looks like some kind of HTML code to me.

Re:appropriate (1)

12WTF$ (979066) | about 3 months ago | (#46850767)

tf;du

too fast ; didn't understand

Not all Get the Word (2)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 3 months ago | (#46845387)

It was shown quite some time ago that adults "read" by recognizing the shapes of words, not their spelling. If this is true then it would explain the problems described in TFA.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W... [wikipedia.org]
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/... [dummies.com]

Re:Not all Get the Word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46846501)

Word shape is an discredited model long ago abandoned by reading scientists because it doesn't fit the evidence. See The Science of Word Recognition [microsoft.com] for an introduction which discusses the currently most accepted model, parallel letter recognition.

Slashdot method is best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46845533)

Skip the reading entirely and go straight for the POST button.

-1 Disagree (1)

k3vlar (979024) | about 3 months ago | (#46845705)

As someone who discovered Spritz when it started making headlines, and tried out a similar RSVP [wikipedia.org] app with the novel I'm currently reading, I can tell you that my comprehension didn't suffer. I tend to adjust the speed while I read, ranging from 500-700 wpm, and I can still clearly recall and describe the plot and detailed events of the book over the sections that I read using the app.

I do agree that it's not an ideal way to read, as the flow of text tends to be robotic and lacks some of the conveyance of emotion. In this regard, it's probably better for reading non-fiction or purely informational texts. I can't say it hurt my comprehension, though.

Re:-1 Disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46846785)

You're clearly an expert on the matter at hand, and those who have considerable understanding of the area through training, study, and research clearly have an inferior understanding of both the concepts and the processes behind it all.

Or, you're actually wrong and have very little knowledge on the topic.

Applying Occam's Razor, which of those seems more likely?

Re:-1 Disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46846853)

speed reading a novel a child could understand and something like a technical document are two different things

this is a lack of clarity in every speed reading do hicky... you can read fast cause the material is simple

It worked for me -- still don't believe it (2)

Gim Tom (716904) | about 3 months ago | (#46845945)

I was fortunate to be given a speed reading class that took several weeks as a high school graduation present back in the dark ages (1965). I took the course and practiced as I was told, but I never did believe it was doing any good and it was definitely not a fun way to read anything for pleasure. Fast forward to the next year and I am a freshman in engineering, but having to take an "elective" political science course in which I had no interest at all. Since the purpose of the freshman year in engineering is to cull the masses I concentrated on what, to me, were the far more important classes I had. A few days before the final exam I realized that I was not going to pass that polysci class unless I could pull off a near perfect score on the final. The professor was kind enough to confirm my calculations on that point. For two days before the final I read the entire text book through cover to cover TWICE. I scored in the high 90's on the final and passed the course with a C+. When I was taking the exam, I really was just sort of zoned out. Much of the test was essay questions and I would just write whatever came into my head on the subject, not really knowing what I was saying or where it came from.

Now, I would have put this down as a fluke except that I was able to do very similar things for the rest of my career in engineering. Although trained in systems engineering I started out working with computer systems when computers were big iron and I worked on both IBM, Univac, and DEC systems. Then I successfully made the transition to PC's and networks and retired as a Network Engineer and Security Officer. Often I would have to learn enough to get started in a new area about which I knew almost nothing with little time to do so. I would get 5 or 6 books on the subject and absorb them over a weekend and could then get up to speed pretty quickly after that.

I still don't understand how it works, and I am still not sure I really believe it works, but for over 40 years the speed reading class I took in 1965 saved my bacon many times.

Re:It worked for me -- still don't believe it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46846851)

...but for over 40 years the speed reading class I took in 1965 saved my bacon many times.

Did terrorists keep kidnapping your family, then hold you at gunpoint and make you read really long books or else?

Re:It worked for me -- still don't believe it (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 3 months ago | (#46848829)

I really was just sort of zoned out. Much of the test was essay questions and I would just write whatever came into my head on the subject, not really knowing what I was saying or where it came from.

Congratulations, sounds like you could have had a great political science career.

Re:It worked for me -- still don't believe it (1)

Gim Tom (716904) | about 3 months ago | (#46850427)

Yea, and I could have been a practice patient for dental students doing root canals too!

nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46846019)

Its a balance, speed and comprehension. You can't have both be high at the same time. If you are reading faster, you are thinking less about what your reading.

I have a cousin that can read a book in a day, I often find her reading the same book a few months later, she forgets enough of it to enjoy reading it again. I read much slower, but I remember the book for around 10 years just by looking the title of the book.

I'm sure for a few this works, we are not all made the same.

slow reading apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46846157)

i suggest we use slow reading apps instead at least for important readings we could start by eliminating punctuation blank spaces and why not grammar as well for a better comprehension the next step would be also using abbreviations like the ancient romans did yes i know better comprehension wasnt their only goal but who cares

What if complete understanding doesn't matter? (1)

BeanBagKing (1151733) | about 3 months ago | (#46846283)

The article is exactly right from my experience, and I'm not going to speed read a book I enjoy. However, there's a lot of times where you need to pick up an idea quickly or in it's general form where that comes in handy. Great example is classroom material. I'm not reading four or more 600+ page textbooks each semester, especially when I don't need 98% of the material.

What I do need most often is a general grasp of what is going on in a particular chapter, then I might go back, work out how to use formulas, go over a specific table or case study, etc.

Speed reading the entire thing leaves out almost all of the trees, but it allows me to get a quick view of the forest.

I self taught myself speed reading and can't stop (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 3 months ago | (#46846479)

The way I taught myself to speed read is to skim rapidly across a paper and get the gist of what they're saying. I read in major word concepts and understand what they're trying to say while skipping lesser words. It is dead on that you can't comprehend as much, but you can give yourself a personal TL:DR summary. I don't recommend others to learn speed reading because sometimes it engages itself without trying. It is almost a bad habit that it engages when I have impatience with what I'm reading. I mean there are places it is good to have speed reading, but sometimes its hard to control and can be a bad habit. I mean the pros out weigh the cons, but not by much.

Speed reading isn't as useful of a skill as people think it is when they first hear it. It even ruins things designed to capture your imagination at a certain rate of time like Tolkien. If you speed read Tolkien, it is comparable to watching LOTR in fast forward. I mean you can get the gist of what happens by watching a movie in fast forward, but if you want to sit down and enjoy it, you watch it at the rate it was intended for. Where speed reading is really good is focusing a page of all sorts of information like Reddit, and getting to the stuff you want to read more rapidly.

Speed reading Slashdot (1)

tgv (254536) | about 3 months ago | (#46846681)

I can read the entire slashdot page of comments for this article in 10 seconds. Why? Because I know all I'm skipping is uninformed BS. It seems no-one here has the faintest clue to the reading process. I have first hand experience in psycho-linguistic experiments, and I can tell you that saccades are quite probably an essential part of the reading process: eyes just don't wander around at random, they fixate quite precisely to recognize groups of characters or short words in their context. Very short words, like articles and prepositions can sometimes be skipped altogether (leading to a certain class of reading errors). And in experiments where you show subjects one word at a time, it's obvious that information gets lost when you present the words too quickly.

It might be possible to speed up reading a bit, but the faster, the more it resembles skimming. And when you try to force that onto the reader by presenting every bloody word (something skimming avoids), the reader is going to get tired from the effort, and confused since he's got no way to go back. Very lousy idea.

Scam? (2)

ferrisoxide.com (1935296) | about 3 months ago | (#46846767)

Many years ago I got pulled into a scam around speed reading. A good friend (at the time) was in the thrall of a conman with an interesting proposal. The elevator pitch went something like this: "Imagine a system that flashes words at you subliminally and when it detects you haven't understood a word (via a biofeedback mechanism) it then flashes the dictionary definition of that word. You could read an entire book in minutes and have complete understanding of the content."

Even though I was young I still could smell bullshit. A small group of similarly-minded people tried to pop the bubble, but when the true believers had invested so much time and emotional energy there was no turning them around. The was more to it than this: crazy mind games, a three-car pile up and other weirdness (including an impromptu cover of "The Rainbow Connection" in an upmarket restaurant), but I won't bore you with the details. The end-point is it soured a friendship which never recovered.

Maybe I'm biased by that experience, but any technology that promises to solve problems by getting people to read faster - instead of, say, with better comprehension - leaves me with the taste of snake-oil in my mouth.

TL;DR (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 3 months ago | (#46847023)

Something about speed reading being great? Right?

English isn't well suited for speed reading (2)

Rodot (3631993) | about 3 months ago | (#46847057)

I am German, so please excuse me, if my English isn't that good. There once was a study in Germany, what effect almost exclusively lower case in german texts would have. The result was, that texts are better understandable with nouns written with an upper case first letter. They serve as anchors, especially, when reading fast. Furthermore, in English it is common, that the same word is used as a verb and a noun. This actually would be a damn good reason to write nouns with an upper case first letter. When you skim through an English text, and notice, for example, the word "jump", you don't even know, if it is the verb or the noun. This can also be a source of ambiguity. Another big source of ambiguity is the usage of "it" to refer to almost everything, because most words don't have a grammatical gender. You have to be aware of that, when you are creating relative sentences in English. Even people are not always gendered in English. Is the tennis player female or male? You often have to read a fair bit into a text, until he/she (see?) is referenced as "her" or "him". I have seen some discussions between native English speakers on the internet, were someone wrote sth. like "Ah, so the teacher was your mother!" or "I thought, the cat was chasing the car, not the dog." Oh, this last example has another ambiguity. I should write "I thought, the cat, not the dog, was chasing the car". This ambiguity does not occur in German because articles are declined dependent on the gender and relation. http://de.wiktionary.org/wiki/... [wiktionary.org] To put it in a nutshell, it seems logical, that speed reading is especially hard in English. The more possible ambiguities you have, the more likely you will have to stop and think about, what is really meant.

Re:English isn't well suited for speed reading (1)

Rodot (3631993) | about 3 months ago | (#46847063)

Correction: "relative sentence" has to be "relative clause".

Mr Wizard covered this decades ago (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46847679)

Like he covered everything else, RIP

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbKFgIxv5nU#t=02m31s

Spritz Sucks - ARTReader rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46898785)

ARTReader is a completely different approach to speed reading; check out www.advreadtech.com

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...