A column written about 1987 answered the question -
Does Speed Reading really work?
I have to offer these credentials first -
My background is senior educational consultant. and
one of my clients is “Donna Holman Speed Learning”, in
Miami, Florida. I have studied this subject, and was
an associate of Evelyn Wood, the founder of the field of
study of speed reading.
The new “Speed Learning” course includes large chunks devoted
to speed reading, and is affiliated with Long Island University
8th largest college in the U.S.
I will assume two things: that “Straight Dope” is willing to
change its collective mind when new evidence is brought forward,
and that the people who visit these message boards are confirmed knowledge-seekers.
The definition of “speed reading” is the ability to absorb three
(3) levels of material:
Basic: (Reader’s Digest in difficulty), Semi-Tuff, (Text books), and Tuff-Stuff, which consists of Journal articles,
Encyclopedia Britannica, and Legal briefs.
It is NOT speed reading unless:
You read 300% faster than your present, normal (snailing), in all three (3) areas of reading difficulty, and maintain it permanently.
You increase your comprehension 10% or better.
You increase long-term memory up to 20%
You add 15% to your present concentration as measured
by standard testing,
The SECRET of speed reading is: Our eyes follow a moving object. Peripheral vision makes it happen. Coda: They have graduated 2 million students: from 5th graders,
to students at Harvard, Yale etc., through graduate schools,
and from the Fortune 500, executives and professionals.
It is a serious academic skill that permits kids to ACE their
classes, and even the SATs, and adults to shorten their learning-
curve, often leading to promotions to leadership positions.
I used in Law School and it was enormously helpful in helping
me pass the Bar on the first click.
For serious details, you may surf to
P.S. I am a member of “Straight Dope”, and am not a stockholder, officer nor director of Speed Learning.