Speed reading requires training the brain, not just the eyes. Getting the eyes unstuck from looking, and sometimes staring, at individual words is essential, but that is merely one aspect of learning a set of complex behaviors and skills. Training the eyes is the mechanical part of learning the skills. That's easy part. The more difficult aspect is training the brain/mind to comprehend.

All speed reading programs will teach you how to move your eyes more efficiently through print. However, many of these actually do this rather improperly. Some of these approaches tell the learner to see the entire line of print, even if the line is more than three or four inches wide. The natural clear focal area for each stop of the eyes at normal reading distance is one to three inches. These approaches include many of the best selling programs. But training the eyes is essential.

However, to master speed reading, you need to know that your brain must process the visual inputs. If your mind is not processing the input, you will not read. You must learn how to process (comprehend) the material. At very high speeds, initially this causes the brain to become overloaded. This leads to frustration. Frustration often leads to giving up. Giving up will not allow you to master the skill.

Visual perceptual overloading is an accepted form of training. Fighter pilots regularly train in this manner. If you drive a car on a long trip at 70 miles per hour, and then have to drive at 30 mph, the slower speed will seem (perceptually) agonizingly slow. On the other hand, driving at 30 mph and then accelerating to 70 mph will seem dangerously fast until you are used to that speed. Your brain/mind will get used to that speed. A properly designed speed reading training will include this approach along with proper coaching and support for the frustration that occurs.

Additionally, a well designed program will also include training about how the mind perceives information. This aspect addresses the comprehension aspect of speed reading. Comprehension is the more challenging aspect of learning the skills.

Comprehension does not happen by magic. It happens when your mind responds to the meaning of the print. It happens when you understand how information is organized and you can identify the differences among concepts, ideas, facts, and details. The mind can absorb these at extremely rapid rates, if you know how to direct your brain. This typically means a total shift in how you perceive the meaning of what you are moving your eyes through. Comprehension at extremely high rates requires a re-training of the brain/mind.

Author's Bio: 

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 inquiry@productivelearn.com. 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."

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Ed Caldwell, the Official Guide To Speed Reading