Speed reading is a vastly popular keyword internet search term with several million searches per month. Many people want to discover how to do this vital information management skill today. However, before someone learns to speed read, it might be helpful to take a step back and observe something that is taken for granted.
When you read, whether it is speedy or not, what does your mind do? If you take it for granted, you might be able to move through print quickly, but then you probably won’t comprehend well.
There is no such thing as speed reading without comprehension. This has to be stated boldly. A common complaint I get when people have tried speed reading in the past is that they are able to speed up their pass through the material, but their comprehension suffers. There are various reasons for this to happen, but the fact is, if you don’t understand anything in the material, then reading is not taking place.
Reading, whether it is done with speed or not, is comprehension, or understanding the material. In order to understand the material, you have to consider your mind’s experience. As a brain trainer, I have come to understand that being aware of our thoughts is generally taken for granted. Either we’re fantasizing the future, or we are reliving the past. True conscious awareness escapes most of us most of the time.
Let’s forget about speed reading for a moment and just consider what does your mind do when you read? If you are like most people your mind is probably not present to what the print symbolizes. Your mind races ahead. Or, it wanders off into some other task that you should be considering. Or, perhaps you are remembering some pleasurable event that you’d like to be reliving, rather than paying attention to the task at hand. Or, any number of things could be occupying that mental space other than considering the print in front of you.
So, from now on, practice watching your mind as you read. What are you thinking about?