What are some average read speeds

Techniques for increasing reading speed

MMI attachment 1 by Sebastian Lechenbauer

1 Introduction

The ability to acquire new knowledge quickly and efficiently is seen as an important basic qualification in today's information age. Since most new information is absorbed by reading, one's own reading technique plays a decisive role in the absorption of information. There are a number of ways you can improve reading speed and understanding
In this essay, after an introductory overview (in part 2), two quite different techniques are briefly presented. One of the best-known reading techniques is the speed reading developed by Tony Buzan, which is described in more detail in Part 3. Another, but fundamentally different, reading technique is Paul Scheele's PhotoReading, presented in Part 4. Part 5 provides a brief summary.

2. Overview

In the German-speaking area alone there are around a dozen different fast reading techniques, including: speed reading, photo reading, area reading, mental reading, alpha reading, go reading and prime reading. [1]
The promises of these techniques sound tempting: in Prime Reading, for example, there is talk of an up to 300-fold increase in reading speed through "more intuitive understanding", Go-Reading promises a reading speed of up to 25,000 words per minute. [2]
Numerous books have been published on these fast-reading techniques. In addition, a large number of seminars are offered in which such methods can be learned. Several software products also promise an increase in reading speed.

However, opinions about the effectiveness and effectiveness of such methods differ widely.
There are also black sheep among the providers of such products and services. “The German Society for Professional Reading and the Reading Foundation expressly warn against dubious providers on the market for faster reading. Whoever manipulates his reading can disturb it. Learning is behavior change. Anyone who changes their reading process can - in extreme cases - downright unlearn it. "[2]

3. Speed ​​reading

Speed ​​Reading was developed by Tony Buzan in the 1970s.
It is based primarily on two findings:
- On the one hand, the eye can perceive text at high speed.
- On the other hand, the brain can process the recorded text much better at higher speeds (from 400 words per minute) than at normal reading speed (approx. 200 words per minute).
The idea of ​​speed reading is now to train the eye movement so that text can be grasped faster.

Switching off braking effects

There are two main braking effects to be eliminated:
- Regression is a constant return to words, sentences or paragraphs that you think you have misunderstood or not understood at all.
- Jumping back is an involuntary return of the eyes to words and sentences that you have just read. This is mostly an unconscious process.
These two processes can be reduced by supporting the eye in its movements with a simple reading aid (pencil, chopstick, etc.). When reading, this reading aid is easily carried along on the line that you are currently reading. This helps the eye to follow the text evenly and in a straight line. In addition, concentration is improved and attention is maintained.

Reduction in the number of fixations

The next step in increasing reading speed is to decrease the number of pinnings. The eye does not move smoothly over the text while reading, but stops at certain points, picks up a word or a group of words and then moves to the next stop, the so-called fixation. Inexperienced readers make about twice as many fixations as actually necessary. Through practice, the eye learns to automatically find the right places for fixation and to take in more words per fixation with fewer fixations. The words get into the brain even if one is not immediately aware of it, since the eye can perceive a whole group of words per fixation.

Simultaneous reading of several lines

Another step in speed reading is to read multiple lines at the same time. You can then move on to capturing every other line (or group of lines) backwards. [3]

With speed reading, as with all other reading techniques, you can only achieve success through regular practice and training.

4. Photo reading

PhotoReading was developed by Paul R. Scheele and works completely differently from Tony Buzan's Speed ​​Reading. The basis here is the mode of action of the human subconscious.
The technology can be divided into five steps:

set a target

Before you actually start reading, you should set yourself a learning goal, that is, you should be aware of what you want to find out by reading. Certain concentration techniques lead to a suitable reading state.

provide overview

The second step is to get an overview of the reading material and to familiarize yourself with its structure.

The PhotoReading Step

This is followed by the so-called PhotoReading step, in which the book or magazine is viewed page by page, with the eyes not fixed on the text. As a result, the text is presented directly to the subconscious, which then begins processing.

incubation period

In the fourth step, the so-called incubation period, there is a break in which the subconscious processes the material that has been presented to it.

Activation of the read content

Then, in the fifth step, you can begin with the “activation”, in which the essential content of the text you have read is brought into your consciousness. Two more reading passes are used for this purpose, in which the text is looked through again in different ways.

With PhotoReading, reading speeds of 25,000 words per minute and more are possible. However, the text is not recorded consciously but via the subconscious, which is why PhotoReading is not suitable for every reading material.

There are numerous success reports on PhotoReading. However, one should note that this technique does not work without a positive attitude and trust in your own subconscious.

[4], [5], [6]

5. Summary

On average, humans read 3 to 4 words per second, i.e. around 180 to 240 words per minute. Experienced readers can do this about 2-3 times faster. Speed ​​reading professionals achieve a reading speed of 1,000 to 3,800 words per minute. With photo reading, speeds of up to 25,000 words per minute can be achieved. [1]
However, it is questionable whether the understanding of the text will fall by the wayside at such high reading speeds. The prerequisite for all of these techniques is the same, a positive attitude and motivation to practice a lot. In addition, not all reading material is suitable for some techniques.
With PhotoReading in particular, it can be doubted whether this technology is not only used to sell books and seminars. A healthy mistrust is therefore not wrong before deciding on a reading technique. However, an overly negative attitude towards a reading technique can hinder the reading and recording process.

One more note at the end: if you want to learn both the PhotoReading technique and speed reading, you should start with the PhotoReading technique. Above all, speed reading trains the fixation of reading material, but with PhotoReading this has to be given up. But it is more difficult not to fixate the more one is used to fixation. [3]


[1] http://www.online-netzwerk-lernen.de/schnell-lesen/schnell-lesen-lernen.html
[2] http://rosenbauer.de/sl-links.htm
[3] http://www.lernen-heute.de/lesen__speed_reading.html
[4] http://www.learningstrategies.com/photoreading/Intro3.html
[5] http://www.learningstrategies.com/photoreading/Intro4.html
[6] http://www.lernen-heute.de/lesen__photo_reading.html