Speed Reading FAQ
Q: Why should I learn to read faster?
The information volume is doubling every 9 months, while we are taught to read no faster than people 100 years ago. Result : we are not keeping up-to-date with new information. We solve this problem but trying to specialize our field of reading and study - we become specialists about less and less and we become ignorant about more and more.
Q: What are the benefits of being able to read faster?
Firstly, TIME - the average person spends 2 hours a day on work-related reading. If you can simply DOUBLE your reading speed, you can save 260 - 360 hours a year. Secondly, MONEY - if your total cost to your company (salary, office space, office equipment, perks & benefits) is $100k per year, and you work a 40-hour week, your cost to the company is $48 per hour. If you save 260 hours a year in reading time, this saves your company $12500 a year - and this is if you simply double your speed. If you increase your reading speed by a factor of 3, 4, 5 or even 6 to 10, the time and money savings become huge.
Q: What happens to the time & money saved by reading faster?
Work shorter hours & play more golf or do more fishing. Improve your skills and earning ability by studying or taking on new job-functions. Improve company productivity and profitability. Complete your specialist depth-reading in less time and allocate the free time to collateral reading - avoid "Knowledge Implosion".
Q: Explain depth-reading, collateral reading, information explosion and knowledge implosion.
Information is data that has the capability to inform us about something. Once we acquire that data, it becomes knowledge - information 'known'. The total information known to mankind is doubling every 9 months - an information explosion - 300,000 new book titles every year, 3000 - 4000 new websites every week. The problem is the individual - your ability to process information today, is no faster than it was a century ago.
As a result, individuals specialize their knowledge acquisition and absorption and individually we focus on depth-reading - reading deeply into our area of specialization. We end up knowing a huge amount about very little, and very little about most things outside our area of specialization . We no longer have time for collateral-reading - reading widely into new subject-material - new subjects, other aspects of our work, other aspects of the environment in which we are workings and studying. If you have too many people each individually focusing on their own area of specialization, and these people are not adequately communication laterally, no single person gets the 'big picture' - he has not joined the 'dots' to get the big picture. A good example occurred recently - some people heard that the USPS was issuing a new postage stamp with an image of Dale Earnhardt. Others new that the announcement was made on April 1. Still others knew that April 1 is April Fool's day and still others knew that you have to be dead for at least 10 years before your image can be immortalized on a postage stamp. And because so many people failed to join the 'dots', thousands of people spend hours and hours in lines at post offices waiting to buy the new stamp!
Knowledge Implosion occurs when the 'big picture' is so fragmented across so many people, that the benefits of having knowledge are destroyed - the Enron knowledge implosion is the most recent example. Similarly the 9/11 disaster and the attack on Pearl Harbor. In all of these examples, the knowledge existed to have prevented the tragedies, but was simply too spread out to have been of any use. If you are manufacturing widgets, it helps to be a specialist and to know everything about manufacturing widgets. But it is also essential to know how your people are pricing, financing and marketing your widgets. Also what your competitors are doing in the widget market and what the consumers are saying about the widget market and what is happening to the widget raw-material market and what is happening in the widget-substitution market.
Q: Why classroom-based SpeedReading training instead of 'packaged' courses in book, audio or video format?
Reading is a physical skill - it needs to be learned and practiced. Few physical skills have ever been mastered without practice. While there is nothing essentially bad about packaged courses, you get what you pay for - a course only and not a skill. The skill comes from practice and the packaged course does not ensure that you will do the practice. In a classroom-course, you have an instructor who has traveled the road before you - he is there to explain the What, Why and How of the skills-development; to motivate, encourage, cajole and pressure you into doing the practice; to praise you for progress made; to answer and address your concerns; to make sure that you acquire the skill. And to keep working with you until you HAVE the skill.
Q: Why Speed Reading International courses (as opposed to another classroom course)?
In any training course, there are TWO essential elements - the COURSE and the TRAINER. The course must be successful in getting results and the trainer must be a specialist and able to engender confidence from those being trained. Speed Reading International has been around since the mid 1970's and has a sound track-record with numerous blue-chip organizations. But this is not enough. If you are considering a classroom course, you need to ask yourself "Just how good is the instructor? How long has he been teaching this course? What level of results does he achieve? Do I feel comfortable with him or her as a person, as a teacher, as an advisor? Do I find the instructor credible, knowledgeable, sympathetic to my needs? In addition to buying a seat in a classroom, am I buying the right instructor?
Q: Can ExecuRead be taught to children?
Yes. The ability to read is not linked to age. Accelerated reading is based on 2 requirements - that you can already read and that you have sufficient vocabulary to read, for example, the editorial column of your local newspaper. If you do not have vocabulary, then you cannot read ... at any speed.
Q: What is the best age for introducing children to ExecuRead for Students?
Generally, about the 9th grade. Students at this age are comfortable readers, have a reasonable vocabulary level and are usually mature enough to appreciate the merits of accelerated reading skills - they usually want the training and don't have to be 'pushed' by parents. However, at age 12, my daughter asked to do the course and benefitted tremendously.
Q: Pros and Cons of ExecuRead HomeStudy versus audio versus video versus CD-Rom format?
The key to learning the new skill is a well-designed course and regular practice. Thus, presentation is critical - the course format must lend itself to flexibility - enabling you to do the lessons and practice sessions anywhere, anytime. ExecuRead HomeStudy is fully portable - a course manual including lesson-plans and practice exercises. Audio courses need a cassette-player, video courses need a TV and VCR and CD-Rom courses need a computer. This may or may not restrict your flexibility of being able to learn and practice the new skills while on the move. Generally, busy people are always on the move and demand flexibility - the course must be able to travel easily.
Classroom-based training has always proved to be more effective than 'packaged' home-based courses. If you want to further improve your skills, by attending a classroom course, does your audio / video / CD-Rom course offer any upgrade option? ExecuRead HomeStudy is 100% upgradeable - a 100% credit of your investment against the cost of the classroom course when you decide to upgrade.
Q: In the first evaluation I read 254 wpm with 80% comprehension. In the second one I read 724 wpm (which I found quite impressive) but at 50% comprehension. Is this a regular pattern you find in your students? I.e. will my comprehension start to pick up slowly as I go on with the course?
A short-term drop in comprehension is not unusual with such a rapid increase in speed. Usually the result of your practice speed being too slow. The ideal ratio between RR & PR is 1 : 10, so if you want to read at 750wpm you would want to get your PR up to 7500wpm. That said, if you continue to read at 750wpm you will get used to the speed which is well above sub-vocalisation rate (500) and comprehension will improve. So, at this time, nothing to be overly concerned about. Just watch your Practice Rate.
Q: I am able to read 724 wpm from a book but not from a computer or any screen whatsoever. The limitation seems to be that I cannot use my finger as a guide. This is an important one for me because I read quite a bit from screens and would like to be able to read faster from them as well.
For reading on a computer screen, use your cursor as a pacer. I use a wireless optical mouse and I can emulate my finger on the page by sweeping my cursor across the screen. Bear in mind that with books your speed is ultimately limited by how fast you can turn the pages. With a computer, you are limited by the architecture of the hardware - computer screens don't like scrolling and I have found the maximum readable scrolling speed to be no more than 650wpm. So, for short stuff on computer, I use my cursor as a pacer. For long documents I print, read and shred ... I find it faster, more productive and less tiring on my eyes.