Reading is one of the main ways we use to absorb information, and being able to read fast is something that most of us would like. If you could read 100% faster, for instance, you would read twice as many books every year, or the newspaper twice as fast every morning.
The problem is that most speed reading tricks and techniques never work as promised.
This week I came across a video explaining a trick that surprised me though. It takes some time to get used, but once you do I am sure you will feel a tangible increase in the speed that you read. Here is the video:
The basic idea is that you need to stop reading with your larynx (i.e., trying to pronounce each word as you go, even if just mentally) and start reading with your eyes (i.e., the information is processed by the brain immediately as you see it).
The trick to shift from one to the other is try pronounce something as you read, like “aeiou” or “123.” Sounds weird, but for me it worked.
mark readal says
Another way to overcome subvocalization is to learn reading word phrases. It’s not only more effective than reading single words, but when taking four or five words at a glance there is simply not enough time to pronounce every single word. Tip: start with two or three words before leveling up to four and five.
Thank you Kris. You’ve been very generous with your reply. I see exactly what you mean in each or your responses. I think that perhaps I have not made my point as clearly as you have.
But thank you very much anyway. And thank you for trying ReadSpeeder and giving it your careful consideration.
Kris Madden says
In constructing my responses, I have written a dialogue of sorts between Dave and myself to better organize my thoughts on Dave’s comments and software:
Dave: `Wouldn’t you agree that when you read a difficult passage, you naturally go back and vocalize it to better understand the meaning?
Kris Madden: No, I don’t agree. More and more research points to the fact that re-reading hinders comprehension. Are you familiar with psychology professor, Mark A. McDaniel, research?
The following is from The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/article/Close-the-Book-Recall-Write/31819):
A central idea of Mr. McDaniel’s work, which appears in the April issue of Psychological Science and the January issue of Contemporary Educational Psychology, is that it is generally a mistake to read and reread a textbook passage. That strategy feels intuitively right to many studentsÂ â€” but it’s much less effective than active recall, and it can give rise to a false sense of confidence.
Dave: `We’ve had spoken language way longer than printed language, and therefore are much better at communicating with the spoken word.
Kris Madden: To judge a system of communication based on the length of its history, reduces the importance of developing new ways of communicating with one another. It’s like saying, `We’ve ridden horses longer than we’ve driven cars, or flown airplanes, therefore it’s much better to travel by horse. Or, `We’ve driven combustion engine cars for longer than hybrids, therefore combustion engine cars are better for travel.
Dave: `Compared to the spoken word, text is like watching a video in black and white, with low resolution, and poor sound.
Kris Madden: Comparing the quality of text versus speech, seems to remove the beauty of Helen Keller’s writing and suggests that the written word is an inferior form of communication. I think speech and text both have significant qualities to offer in means of communication, which is why the world still writes and talks, because we need both. I’ve stayed up late reading books that captivated my imagination and at the same time read books that put me to sleep. And I’ve listened to speeches that inspired me, and others that bored that produced less than a `black and white, with low resolution, and poor sound.
Dave: `But what makes ReadSpeeder work is that it actually finds the natural, meaningful phrases.
Kris Madden: Using `read speeder, with the book `A Christmas Carol, the program divides the line: `… and Scrooge’s name was good upon `Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. into
`And Scrooge’s name
`Was good upon
`for anything he chose
`to put his hand to.
To me, it seems like Dickens already divided the line into meaningful phrases using commas. The program seems to only subdivide the Dickens’ original phrasing into the way the computer thinks it should be divided. For a computer to rephrase Dickens, seems presumptuous in my mind.
From Dave’s webpage: `Today, typing and email are so much faster than the old methods of hand-writing and postal-mail. Why should reading still be slow?
Kris Madden: I agree, `Why should reading still be slow? I don’t think having a computer divide text into smaller `meaningful phrases is the key to accelerating a person’s reading speed and comprehension. I think there are more internal factors to take into account than external in development of a person’s reading capabilities.
Thanks for your reply Kris. I suppose you’re right that ReadSpeeder is primarily for beginners. I can see your point that it would be much less useful for those reading over 800 wpm.
I am not familiar with that 1900 study, but wouldn’t you agree that when you read a difficult passage, you naturally go back and vocalize it to better understand the meaning? Most people read in the 200 wpm range, and they tend to vocalize everything for this same reason.
I look at it this way. We’ve had spoken language way longer than printed language, and therefore are much better at communicating with the spoken word. The spoken word has lots of additional information in the form of pitch, volume, and rhythm, which is missing in text. Sounding out the text is an attempt to replace this information. Compared to the spoken word, text is like watching a video in black and white, with low resolution, and poor sound.
Now, if you are referring to ‘chunking’ as simply groups of words, I would not see much benefit to ReadSpeeder other than just pushing you to read faster. But what makes ReadSpeeder work is that it actually finds the natural, meaningful phrases. This is what makes the reading easier to understand; each phrase is a separate idea, and can be instantly recognized without thinking of the separate words.
I’m not trying to make the case or vocalization. Vocalization restricts your reading speed. But if the reader is presented a complete, meaningful phrase, they will not *need* to vocalize. The meaning of the phrase can be instantly grasped in the same way the meaning of a word can be understood without being consciously aware of the individual letters.
Anyway, it’s interesting to hear from someone with an interest and knowledge in this topic. Your comments indicate to me that http://www.readspeeder.com needs to improve its descriptions and explanations. If you have any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again for you comments.
Kris Madden says
I have to say that I disagree with your line:
“But vocalizing isn’t really just a habit. It actually does help you understand what you read.”
But research continues to show that sub-vocalized reading does not increase comprehension. This is dating back to 1900 with:
Secor, W. B. (1900). Visual Reading: A Study in Mental Imagery. The American Journal of Psychology, 11(2), 225-236.
And the computer program “read speeder” is built to eliminate subvocalization through pushing the larynx to say things faster than it physically can, which then allows the eyes to begin taking in information. So, I don’t understand why you would make a case for subvocalization, when your product helps to eliminate it.
Personally, I think the computer program is neat because it has a nice chunking feature for beginners, but once you’re reading above 800-1000 words, the feature becomes relatively useless.
Vocalization is not a bad habit!
It is a common habit to vocalize, or at least sub-vocalize while reading. This practice will prevent you from reading any faster than you can say the words. But vocalizing isn’t really just a habit. It actually does help you understand what you read. Sentences are usually made of multiple phrases. Each phrase is an idea, or a separate thought. When you hear a sentence spoken, there are sound clues that indicate these phrases. You may not be aware of it because it’s as subconscious as walking, but listen carefully to the previous sentence when it’s divided into phrases
When you hear — a sentence spoken, — there are sound clues — that indicate — these phrases.
If you listen carefully to the spoken words, you will notice that the first word of each phrase is spoken in a lower pitch, like a lower musical note. Lowering our pitch indicates to the listener that this is the next thought being presented and this makes our spoken sentences easier for the listener to understand. This lower pitch tells the listener that a new part of the sentence is coming. But these audio clues are not available in written text, and so we have a tendency to sound out the words to listen for them ourselves.
There is a free online application which will take any text and convert it into its natural phrases. It will then display these phrases one after the other at your control or automatically with an adjustable speed control. Go to http://www.ReadSpeeder.com and try it out.
Although there is often more than one way to break a sentence into phrases, ReadSpeeder’s patent-pending process does a good job of quickly finding the natural, meaningful phrases. When the sentence is presented to you in this way, you no longer need to internally sound out the sentences. You will instantly grasp the meaning of each phrase at a glance, just like you grasp the meaning of words at a glance, without thinking of each letter. Faster understanding will lead to faster reading. This method is really the opposite of most attempts to read faster. The usual advice is to push your reading speed, and try to maintain comprehension, with the hope that, with practice, the comprehension will improve. With ReadSpeeder, you understand faster to begin with. Use ReadSpeeder and no longer will you be restricted to reading at the speed of speech. You will be reading at the speed of thought.
If you have any questions, you can write me at [email protected]
Kris Madden says
Thanks for posting my video. I’m glad everyone is finding it helpful. You can find more of my videos on my official website: krismadden.com.
– Kris Madden
Kristjan-Olari Leping says
It does really work although it needs practice. For many people getting rid of sub-vocalization is the most difficult part of learning to speed read. Yet, if you cannot get rid of this habit then it will keep your reading speed down.
I am a speed reading trainer and I use similar types of exercises in my speed reading courses and they really work. In addition I may include that it helps if you sometimes practice reading at deliberatelty high speeds, which does not allow you to sound words in your mind. So for practice, you have to try reading faster than you actually can read.
Thanks very much for sharing this. Amazing and very interesting idea!
Aminul Islam Sajib says
Can’t watch the video; Internet connection is terribly slow. It would definitely help us, readers who are using low-configuration computer or using slow Internet connection, if you could write up whatever is shown and taught in the video above.
Joe Caterisano says
Wouldn’t you be more likely to skip over a word? One word may be very important, i.e. “The dog never stopped chasing the cat.” vs. “The dog chased the cat.”
Thanks Daniel for sharing this video…..I love the technique…
Well, i said i’d have a go and i have been doing it when i remember – amazed how easy it is (i didn’t expect it to be) and how little practice it takes, ie virtually none at all. :0)
It roughly doubles the speed i read. All that remains now is to establish it as habit. Shouldn’t take long. Thanx so much for this tip!
edwin joseph says
My brother is telling me about this speed read and it works a lot because it will double reading productivity 🙂
Sean Morrissy says
Thanks for that. I read a ton of books and it would be great to get through them twice as fast. I’ll definitely try and work at this, my ever expanding library requires it!
Farnoosh Brock says
Fantastic, fantastic video. I love it. I think it worked already. I will need to practice because I am an extremely avid reader, both information online and heaps of books. I am now ready to take my husband on his challenge for a reading race (he is a fast reader but wait til I show him). Seriously, good stuff. Thanks!
Tom Bradshaw says
I think this may help some people. But for me to be able to take in what I’m reading I have to ‘say’ or think every word to myself. I read every day but probably not enough to be able to see any improvement in my speed.
Interesting; i haven’t seen this method before and will give it a go. Of course it will take some practice, but it’s bothering me that i read more slowly than i used to – and i was never a fast reader! I’ve always put that down to having a brain that prefers the visual, which in this method will help instead of hinder.
(I don’t imagine it’s useful when you need to remember the specific wording, say when learning quotations for an essay.)
Thanx for posting. :0)
Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" says
I’ll definitely give this a try. It sounds like kind of the same principle for typing faster, going from thinking each letter as you type to thinking words as you type to thinking a phrase as you type and just registering through your eyes and not worrying about comprehending. I’m going to share about this on my Friday “Things I Learned This Week” post with a link back here.
I think because the throat that it is made and used me to always use that gain is got rid of, this kind of technology mentioned will be suitable for me. It is what I do not know well that this is analogous to, but Il spends time testing this scheme read fast.
Very cool! I like 1234 better than the vowels. I used the technique to speed read the rest of these comments and it worked! In the beginning I had to read the sentence 2x but after awhile I was looking for the main words and skipping some but still understood the sentence or paragraph.
Wow. I should have read this trick way back. It’s working!
Jorge Delgado says
Well I’ll give it a try…I do need to read faster.
Props Blog Ideas says
I’ve heard of a ton of different methods for speed reading. One of the big things all of them preach is word recognition; not pronouncing the word, but just seeing the word and recognizing it. I actually think AEIOU flows better than 123. For stuff like reading blogs or reviews, this technique seems really useful, but I’d be hessitant to use it for very technical things (I’m a chemist; I couldn’t read an SOP like this and expect to get it right).
On the other hand, it’s kind of like touch typing. At first it’s hard use the “home keys.” After you get used to using the home keys you slowly stop looking at the keyboard to type. Finally, you get where you can type without looking at the keyboard and your typing speed is really a function of how quickly you want to go and how complex the words you are using are.
The Laughington Post says
I also read quickly without saying a word but i always react to what i read in a noticeable manner something that suprise people around me
Web Marketing Tips says
Wow I never knew that I am using three senses or organs to read a word. This is really informative. Would love to try this on weekends and will share with my nephews as well so that there reading speed can increase.
Brian D. Hawkins says
I’m struggling with this. I can’t seem to understand a single word while saying aeiou. I guess I need to keep practicing.
Thanks for the Tip. It works well. Using this technique already but not defined by the book yet until today.
Josh Stauffer says
I’ll give it a shot. Hope this works for me.
I am definitely going to do this. I read really slow. I was speaking to our school librarian and told her I read 3 books this summer. Hey that is really good for me. She read 50! I can not believe she read 50 books in 10 weeks.
So you can see I can use this. I am also going to add this to my blog and give Daily Blog Tips as the place where I found this.
Thanks for another great post.
yeah this just hits the spot. i always try to pronounce each word, but the more i think about it, the ridiculous it seems.
but i still don’t think that this will be any help, because reading headlines doesn’t take any time at all and if the content is good, there’s no feeling of time-loss there.
Fatin Pauzi says
Bloggers need to learn speed reading so that it can help them to save their time whenever do blog commenting.Well,I think it is a vital subject to be discussed then if this thing got a lot of cooperate from bloggers who are writing the post,well it can help a lot for them to save time and get a same result for the effort.
Igor Kheifets says
where can I get more videos like that?
Will go with Stefan above. To me it’s too much distracting.
I ‘m not sure how this can increase the speed. I am trying to comprehend something else and speaking something else. So my brain is processing two piece of different information at the same time, looks like instead of increasing it may result in decreasing my speed!
Thank you for this article.
But with a text instead of a video, we could learn this method even faster, couldn’t we ? 🙂
I tried reading a few sentences but didn’t really get the text even though I could see the words. I’m guessing this is not a great method when you are studying or trying to learn something interesting.
Boerne Search says
I remember learning this my junior year. But I haven’t thought of it since. But it is a good idea.
I thought everyone knew that, that is a main problem with reading – most of people need to pronounce words in their head, every letter…
I didn’t knew about the exercise, 1234 sounds worth of trying .. aeiou sounds hard to pronounce over and over lol
Alex Lim says
Thanks for bringing this up. I’ve been practicing reading out loud for years; in fact it makes my reading slow. It’s a great timing because I wanted to change this habit gradually. I think the technique mentioned will be applicable to me since it won’t get rid the use of larynx which I always use. This is pretty new to me but I’ll take time to try this speed reading trick. Just out of curiosity, how much time did it take you to master this trick?ss
Nice video, thanks for sharing..
Thanks for posting this. I do a lot of reading everyday, but I’m very slow probably closer to the 125 WPM. If I can accelerate my reading I could save a ton of time. I think I’ll work on this everyday for the next month and see if I can improve my reading skills.
I started doing this a long time ago and while it’s great for scanning news or a book, you have to be careful with emails. Sometimes your brain will process what it thinks is one word and it can make a HUGE difference if you’re a letter or two off. Definitely helpful for catching up on the news and social media sites, though.
Nicholas Cardot says
Thanks for posting this. I’m going to devote some time to trying to become better at using this method of accelerated reading. I may also share this video with some of my readers because it really is amazing.
John (Human3rror) says
this is awesome. i was taught this a long time ago… and it works.