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Is Speed Reading a Talent?

Speed reading is not a talent. You are not born with the talent to read fast, or even super-fast! We all learn how to read when we are young. The more you read, the faster you can learn how to read. Challenge yourself to become a faster reader. And always remember this: Speed reading is a skill!

You may wonder, is it better to read fast or slow? Well, that depends on why you read a text. It also depends on the time you have and your familiarity with the content. I am sure you can read children’s books fast. The language is simple and you don’t need a lot of attention to understand it.  Now switch to a book on microbiology. This may be a bit more difficult. It could be that you don’t know anything about this topic. Many of the words are difficult. This reduces your reading speed. 

Reading speed is not a talent, nor is it a sign of intelligence. I know many smart people who read slowly. I have seen a lot of “average intelligence” people read fast. This offers you an opportunity to learn how to read fast as well. You don’t need special talents. When you have the desire to read faster, and you train daily, you will become a fast reader. When you train a lot, you can become a speed reader. 

The beauty of training to read faster is that you already have to read. You are studying and this involves a lot of reading. Use that to become a speed reader!

What Is Speed Reading?

Speed reading is often described as reading at least 600 words per minute. At this speed, you read on average 2 pages per minute. Can you imagine reading this fast?

Having a high reading speed is wonderful of course! Increasing your reading speed isn’t that difficult. Understanding and remembering what you read is far more important. It is also the most difficult part for most people. Take for example 2 pages in your study book. When you read that in one minute, how much can you remember? Do you have time to understand what you have read?

Reading at a high speed with good comprehension is the real goal of training your reading speed. 

There are many training courses online that help you read with 1000+ words per minute. The focus lies on reading faster. You flip through your pages and end up reading 2 to 4 pages per minute. After doing that for 3 minutes, you should have read between 6 and 12 pages!!!

The real challenge lies in the fact that you must recall what you read. It is much better to increase your reading speed for paragraphs on a page. After that, take a break and recall what you read. The result will be that you give yourself time to recall and understand what you read. Then you take a few notes and continue. Your reading speed has increased, and you learned something!

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Does Reading Speed Indicate Intelligence?

People who have a higher IQ tend to read more. This helps them to have a larger vocabulary. They understand more topics. They can find the root of an idea or problem faster. Since they have this ability… they can read faster. A higher reading speed can be a sign of higher intelligence. But…

This does not mean that when you can read fast you have a high(er) IQ. When you start training your reading speed, you can become a fast reader! Yes, this also increases your IQ (slightly). It works both ways. A higher IQ helps in reading faster. Reading faster helps in improving your IQ. 

Note that this doesn’t mean that if you read slower than average, you are less intelligent. There can be many different reasons for reading slowly. A slow reader may also be using their reading time to process the information on a deeper level. 

Read more here about reading speed and intelligence

When Speed Reading Is A Skill, How Can I Learn It?

Yes, you can learn to become a speed reader. How fast you will be able to read depends on how much you will train. Invest time to train daily. When you are studying, you can use your study books for this. I suggest you take the first 5 minutes of each study session to train reading tactics. If you don’t recall anything you read while training, you can simply start over and begin your study session.

When you learn to read faster, you should start with the right intention. Understand why you are reading a chapter or section. Do you read because of an exam? Or are you looking for clues to work on an assignment? Know this and your reading strategy will reveal itself. 

There are two skills you have to train when becoming a fast reader. The first one is increasing your actual reading speed. The second is improving your comprehension. This tells you how much you understand and remember. 

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When you increase your reading speed a little (10 to 15%), your comprehension increases. This is because it requires more focus to go through a text when you go faster. There is less time to do other things or have distracting thoughts. 

Another comprehension-improving tip is this. After reading a page take a break and look away from your book. What did you read? What do you remember? Start doing that from now on and you will see that your memory starts improving. And if you can’t seem to remember anything… scan the page and see what you recognize. 

(Click here to read more about learning to memorize anything)

Remember that increasing your reading speed isn’t difficult. It just takes time to become a fast reader. Your brain is used to reading at a certain speed. Making it read faster is strange, difficult, and perhaps a little painful. It is at the very least scary to do this. You are changing a very important old habit. When you continue to train, your reading speed will increase. You are on your way to becoming a fast, perhaps even speed reader!

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Speed reading is not a talent. It is something everybody can learn to do. Just like walking, making a nice dinner, or playing your favorite sport, it takes time to be better at it. Some may have a natural ability to process information faster than others. That doesn’t mean other people can’t learn to read faster.

Keep in mind that reading is a skill and that by training you can become faster.

Measure your reading speed and start working on this skill of reading. Let’s do this!

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