A review of speed reading books to improve comprehension
The internet is quite a powerful tool with many online courses available to learn new skills. However, books still play a vital role when it comes to increase knowledge and expertise in various areas and professions. In this post we review 8 speed reading books which will help improve your reading efficiency and comprehension.
1. How to Be a Super Reader by Ron Cole
We already talked about Ron Cole a few times here at the blog. Not only had I used it to teach myself speed reading, I also love his online tools to practice techniques. Anyway, the book’s premise is that it’s not just about how you read but more about how you recall what you read. Its promise is that you will always remember what you just finished reading.
Well, a bit of work is needed to get there. It doesn’t assume that you are already a fast reader. Ron will teach you speed reading techniques such as reading with your fingers, as well as exercises to use them. And, there’s also a section for advanced reading styles, which is the best benefit of this speed reading book.
Before you start you will need to assess your learning style. This is the basis for determining how we process information and can influence how we comprehend what we read. In this speed reading book, you will also learn that it’s more efficient to understand groups of words rather one word at a time. To get there he supplies you with some cool PDFs, which you can already download and print, and then learn to read chunks of words using hand pacing techniques.
2. Breakthrough Rapid Reading by Peter Kump
Breakthrough Rapid Reading uses techniques that have been around since the 1970’s; not surprising since Peter Kump has worked for the speed reading pioneer, Evelyn Wood. What the book is saying is that these techniques actually work and 40 years of experience can prove it.
The work has 36 chapters with each chapter discussing one technique starting with the so-called hand pacing technique, a tactic where your eye follows your finger across the page. You only have to work on one chapter per day. Each chapter contains anecdotes of how the method discussed has helped other people plus some drills at the end.
The book emphasizes purposeful reading. It advises the reader to get only what is required from the material being read and then stop reading. Doing so would allow the reader to finish reading materials faster. The nice thing about the material is that it allows the reader to practice on his own materials. This will allow the reader to integrate the techniques into his lifestyle immediately.
3. The Speed Reading Book by Tony Buzan
Tony Buzan focuses on the concept of reading chunks of words, which has been widely introduced in the late 1990’s. The other information the book contains gives valuable insights into how we read. It discusses what happens when we are presented with text for reading.
This is a book packed with information about speed reading, but is not very instructional, although practice materials are included. The good point is that it shows a way to measure progress. However, this is one of the speed reading books you want to read in one sitting.
4. Speed Reading by Nathan Armstrong
Whether you are a struggling student who has to cram for a test, or a business analyst with many files to read a day, speed-reading, while maintaining comprehension is a useful technique to learn. In this comprehensive guide to speed reading, Armstrong provides readers with fast reading, reading comprehension, and accelerated learning techniques, guaranteeing results in less than 24 hours.
He highlights that this guide is for comprehension and not just speed. Our brains can process the extra information we read, and there are no limits on potential. First, the book assesses your current reading abilities, so that you can track your improvement. You will learn different types of reading methods such as skimming, which helps you only focus on notable words, leaving the fluff behind. These fast reading techniques train your eyes to increase speed and to access your peripheral vision.
This speed reading book will not only improve the rate at which you read but will also increase your learning speed. Some sections discuss mental health state and diets as well that promote stronger reading habits. Armstrong has included techniques, exercises, and additional strategies so that you can cruise through study sessions and novels alike. Readers of this book claim to have experienced immediate results in their reading speed and abilities.
5. 10 Days to Faster Reading by The Princeton Language Institute, Abby Marks Beale
In this book, Abby-Marks Beale takes you through different tactics to improve your overall reading speed in just ten days! With techniques proven to give you results, you will increase your reading abilities daily and see immediate results such as doubling or even tripling your reading speed.
Each day focuses on an important skill you need to read and remember everything quickly. There are tips for accessing the whole of your peripheral vision to encompass more material at once, meaning you can capture more words. Scanning and skimming are necessary methods in quick reading. Abby teaches you how to focus on the relevant material and ignore distractions that waste time.
This book will help you break bad reading habits that slow you down and deter you from your goals. You will learn about the power of concentration and how to develop your focusing skills.
6. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading by Abby Marks Beale, Pam Mullan
True to its name this book will turn those who lack strong reading skills into reading powerhouses. This complete guide shows you that reading doesn’t have to be a dull chore that drags on but can be done both quickly and more efficiently.
With simple strategies, readers will not only hustle through and comprehend books, magazines, and articles, but they will also increase their confidence and abilities. Practice various approaches to keep pace such as single-finger, multiple-finger, and memory card use so that you can figure out which method works best.
Additionally, you will discover how to pick out key words to get the main idea, while skipping the smaller, filler words. This speed reading book was written by two reading specialists who will take you on a short journey to becoming a better student or stronger in your profession through reading.
There are tips for reading efficiently and timed practices to boost your skills. There are some sample texts for you to practice with, and extra space to keep track of your progress. You will also learn different methods for reading on paper versus a screen. With anything in life, practice is essential, and this book will ensure that you keep perfecting your skills every day until you’ve mastered speed-reading.
7. Super Reading Secrets by Howard Stephen Berg
Howard Berg is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the man who could read 80 pages per minute. This book supposedly explains his methods. While the book does discuss techniques for reading faster – skimming and reading with the fingers – it is the allied information that give it value. There are sections about study habits and memory aids. The book feels more like a text book, because there aren’t that many exercises.
The catch with this book is the editing. The material could have been organized better. References should have been checked. All in all though, the fastest reader in the world gives the reader a good idea of how he did it.
8. Learn to Speed Read by Kris Madden
This is a short piece of seven chapters, though the author recommends taking your time, say roughly six weeks. You will find two different parts: In the first one, Kris identifies the reading habits that slow down our reading and shows ways to break those habits.
The second part is where he introduces speed reading techniques by replacing old habits with more effective ones. Essentially, Madden wants you to replace the habit of sub-vocalization with visualization. Finally, the last learning chapter is where you try to understand the text just by looking at the entire paragraph.
The author defines the terms he uses and adds a little explanation why this method helps. The rest of the chapter is the set of exercises that are to be done one per day of the week. There’s is a quick test at the end of each chapter to see if you’ve made any improvements. Kris also published a few videos on YouTube to better understand basic techniques.
Speed Reading Books: The Verdict
The speed reading books mentioned above will teach you similar techniques. They all advocate the use of the finger or a pointing device to guide the eye through the page. Another common element is that they all teach us to avoid reading word for word.
In all books you will also find daily exercises to achieve your goals. As noted by the authors themselves, you need to apply these methods in your everyday life to enjoy the full benefit. For this, Kump’s book allows the reader to do just that. It is always easier and more enjoyable to read something you are interested in. Madden’s use of Alice in Wonderland will not easily sit well with everybody. The drills in the other books may not exactly be interesting to all readers.
Explanatory notes are also handy. The ideas that accompany the techniques can help to reinforce them. However, they should not detract from the main subject which is reading faster and with more understanding. To this end, Berg’s material could do better, but it provides interesting insights. Kump’s Breakthrough Rapid Reading and Cole’s How to Be a Super Reader are two of the best speed reading books available as they offer a more comprehensive approach, and are also suitable as training guides.