Recently someone asked me directly, "is it possible to read 2000 words per minute?" Yes, it is possible. Faster is also possible.
It is possible to read even faster than that. We're not sure how fast is possible for us humans. However, considering that the average ending rates for our students is 1600-2000 wpm, and some have read at 24,000 wpm with 95% comprehension, the speed the inquirer asked about is certainly possible.
From having taught tens of thousands of people in the past these skills, I'll share the 2 most important keys to success. The first is that reading at that rate consistently over the long term probably will not happen in one brief session. Be wary about offers to teach you how to speed read in 16 minutes! You may get an initial boost in speed, but you won't really master the skills long term. You need to radically change your approach to inputting the text into your mind.
In fact, most "speed reading" programs merely speed up your ingrained approach that you have used to read up to this point. That approach is doomed to failure and frustration. Properly trained speed readers are certainly reading fast, however, they do not feel like they are rushing through the content. Their minds are fully engaged.
The first essential key is effective practice. Practice over several weeks is essential for long term mastery. After all, you need to train your brain to operate at that speed. Currently your mind wants to pull you back into the comfort zone of your current habits. It's not used to the new approaches of perceiving and interpreting the print. Your mind will learn though with consistent and correct practice.
I want to bring your attention to the last paragraph. I mentioned new approaches of perceiving and interpreting the print. This refers to comprehension. Right now, you probably take comprehension for granted. Do you know how to comprehend? It is a process. The process can be learned, although this is a secret most speed reading programs don't reveal, or just don't understand it. You can get your eyes to move through print at tens of thousands of words per minute, but do you understand it? High speed without comprehension is a waste of time.
The second key to success is your system of beliefs about yourself as a learner. Beliefs are very powerful in how they dictate human performance. We know this from many areas of performance - cognitive performance, artistic, sports, etc. The human mind performs based on its belief conditioning. What do you believe about your abilities to learn? The good news is that even if your past has not demonstrated great success, you can overcome past performance and conditioning by suspending beliefs that do not support your growth. What do you believe is possible for you in mastering speed reading?
Ed Caldwell is the creator and publisher of the "Masters Online Program: Dynamic Reading, Memory, and Recall" and other live and web-based learning programs. As former National Director of Instruction and Certification for the world famous Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics program, Ed has 30 years experience teaching and testing new strategies to help people from all walks of life learn to read more efficiently. Trainer, speaker, and writer, he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is the creator and president of Productive Learning Systems, Inc, and ProductivElearn.com, Inc. You can learn more at http://speedreadingtactics.com/speed_reading_newsletter.html and download the free eBook, "The 10 Top Mistakes When Learning Speed Reading."