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Does Speed Reading Improve Memory?

Speed reading is not directly improving memory. Speed reading has to do with reading X number of words per minute. The tactics you learn are focused on learning to read quickly. Memory has to do with what you remember. The longer you can recall information is a measure of how strong your memory is. The two are somewhat related, yet you can not state that speed reading improves your memory.

Most speed reading courses focus on one thing. They primarily help you to read more words per minute. There are fortunately also classes that help you with memorizing information. Often these two are taught in one course. Most of the time, they are not combined to create a system that helps you memorize while reading.

What I often learned in speed reading courses is this. When you read fast enough, you can see the text in your mind’s eye. This picture helps you to recall the information you read. Unfortunately, this does not help people study physics, math, or foreign language. 

This makes you think…

Do Speed Reading Classes Work?

It all depends on what you want to learn if a speed reading class or course works. Some people find it difficult to read faster. They want to read better and need reading strategies. Many people are still reading with their middle school reading tactics. Upgrading these tactics definitely will help you. If you want to learn how to read with 1000 words per minute, you better wait. This is not likely to become a reality for you.

You see, learning to read with 1000 words per minute takes time. It will take a lot of time! You have to train a lot. Fortunately, people who are studying need to read a lot. They can train themselves daily. 

do speed reading classes work?

Remember that becoming a faster reader has to do with tactics. It also has to do with simply reading a lot! By reading, you expand your vocabulary. You expand your knowledge. By knowing many things, you can read faster. You don’t have to re-read parts. You don’t need examples. You can skim parts that are already familiar.  

There is one question you have to ask yourself when you are looking into speed reading courses. Is what you will learn in any way realistic? 

Imagine you read with 200 words per minute now. This is the average reading speed of adults. Reading this fast, it takes you about 1 to 3 minutes to thoroughly read a page in a study book. 

Is it realistic to be able to read with 1500 words per minute? Do you think you can read almost 7 times faster? Can you see yourself reading 3 to 7 pages per minute in that same study book? How much do you think you will be able to recall after reading for 1 minute?

Be realistic. Aim for something better. Learn new reading strategies. Focus on improving your comprehension and increasing your reading speed. 

(Related Reading: Why Should Speed Reading And Comprehension Go Together?)

Always be on the lookout to become a better reader. By only reading 50% faster, you can reduce your reading time by up to 33%! Instead of reading for 1 hour per day, you can do that in only 40 minutes. When you read smarter, you can also reduce the time you now waste on memorizing and understanding. 

In short: do speed reading classes work? They might work for you, but you have to remain realistic. Don’t aim for reading 10 times faster. Work on doubling your reading speed first. That is the biggest gain you will get in a short time. 

This brings us to this interesting question…

Does Speed Reading Make You Smarter?

Speed reading may make you smarter. One thing that makes you smarter is reading. Yes, by simply reading more, you become smarter. You learn about new ideas. You get better insights. Your vocabulary increases. You can see more connections between seemingly unrelated topics. 

You don’t need to be a speed reader to read. You can read at your own pace and still become smarter. Isn’t that what most of us do when we are in school? We (have to) read and learn about many different topics (math, history, earth sciences, etc.). Then we finish school and start working. We don’t take time to read anymore. When we get home, we look at our tv and watch a movie, reality show, or something else. 

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Research shows that the average American reads about 12 books per year. This number comes up a lot when you google it. Note that this number is not giving you a good image of how many books people read. Statistics are showing that almost 25% of all Americans don’t read one book at all! Yes, they don’t read!!!

Fortunately, you are reading! Continue to read and you will become smarter. Read your study books. Take notes and apply what you learn. The only way to become smarter is by understanding, memorizing, and applying what you read. The number of pages or books doesn’t matter. You can become smarter by reading 1 page per day (or about a book per year). 

Your reading speed doesn’t have to be a measure of how smart you are. You can be a slow reader or a fast reader. The only thing that matters is how much you learn from each page.

HINT: Here’s an easy way to know how many books you can read per year. Take the number of pages you read per day! Pages per day are a good estimate of the books you read per year.


What you comprehend from a book relies on how fast you are reading. It doesn’t mean if you read at high speeds, you comprehend a lot. Speed reading doesn’t improve your memory. Reading itself can help you improve your memory. Make sure you read for understanding. When you understand something, this triggers your memory. 

Take time to learn how to read smarter. Yes, you can focus on reading faster. But don’t think you should be reading at 1000+ words per minute. This is highly unrealistic for most people. It is much better to increase your comprehension. That way you can go over all your reading and finish that in half the time, even without speed reading!

Remember this: it is not about how much you read. It is about how much you learn and grow from what you read. 

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