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Topic: Speed reading: Truth or lie?
Message: Posted by: Fabian L (Jul 24, 2006 12:03PM)
What's your opinion -- is speed reading/PhotoReading a real skill that can be learned, or are all those books and seminars a scam? My skeptical side rings loud warning signals every time I read about. Yet it would, obviously, be a highly useful skill for a mentalist.
Did anyone try it and get [i]useful[/i] results?
Message: Posted by: JohnCressman (Jul 24, 2006 12:07PM)
I'm actually dyslexic, so when I was learning to read, I couldn't read one word at a time, because it would be scrambled some of the time. I learned to read a sentence at a time so that my mind had a context in which to place the word. So now, I speed read naturally. Not as fast as some techniques, but still fast enough that I read the last Harry Potter novel in one sitting.
Message: Posted by: Graymatter_Fireworks (Jul 24, 2006 12:40PM)
It has been my experience that there are different kinds of reading and as such speed reading only proves its worth based on what you are attempting to read.

For instance, the way you read a news paper is different from the way you may need to read a medical textbook.

I have invested in several types of speed reading courses and I have found that one can indeed improve on their time and comprehension depending on the level of practice and effort. I have used the Evelyn Wood method before, but I do think it is dated and really only proved valuable to me in the context of light recreational reading like that of fiction.

I have found that you can speed read rather effectively in understanding the basics of a novel well enough to know what happens. Although there can be details that you will miss, both important or small, depending on your skill level with speed reading.

I have also toyed with photo reading some, but I can't not honestly comment on the level of success with it as the course is rather extensive and involved and I have yet to invest the time necessary to see if it proves valuable or not.

Hope that helps,

Message: Posted by: leapinglizards (Jul 25, 2006 10:18AM)
I have used and teach various types of speed reading. I think the issue with photo reading is that is is a very hypnotic process, and it leaves you with an UNCONSCIOUS knowledge of what you have read, but consciously. You won't necessarily believe that you do.

Typically when I teach speed reading, I teach a version of the Evelyn Wood method along with hypnotic speed reading. This way they get the best of both worlds.

Speed reading is more for technical reading than for pleasure reading, though your pleasure reading speeds will also increase as you get better with speed reading.
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Jul 25, 2006 11:01AM)
The best way to learn how to read faster, is to simply read more.
Message: Posted by: Piper1973 (Jul 25, 2006 11:31AM)
You can learn to read faster, as others have stated, simply by reading more. But you have to pay attention to how you read and what your brain is doing when you read. Then, you can make changes. For example, if you are a drifter, you will have to do a lot of rereading- slowing you down. Also noticing what you focus on will help you take more from a text. Some readers focus too much on insignificant details.

The actual literature, peer reviewed articles etc, that I looked at were pretty consistent in that rate typically increases, but comprehension doesn't follow and in many cases drops.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jul 25, 2006 03:02PM)
Where are we all rushing to?

Speed sex too?

Jack Shalom
Message: Posted by: Ian Rowland (Jul 26, 2006 05:12PM)
So-called 'speed reading' is a genuine skill that anyone can learn. However, it is neither all that involved nor all that useful. It all boils down saccadic eye movement and teaching yourself to read not 'one word at a time' (as most of us are taught at school) but 'one unit of sense at a time', and to make correspondingly fewer eye stops along each line or group of lines. That's about all there is.

Speed reading can be useful in some very specific cases where you have need to skim a quantity of text for salient details (using whatever definition of 'salient' may be applicable at the time). However, it can lose a lot of the pleasure that we derive from reading, and there is always the point (referred to by some posters here) that you may learn to read faster but you won't necessarily learn to comprehend any more quickly. And reading without comprehesion isn't very useful (except for readers of 'Psychic News', who are incapable of any other type of reading.)

Photo reading is a scam. No one who promotes it or claims to teach it would be able to prove under controlled conditions that they can do what they claim they can do. The 'get out' clause is that they claim the 'comprehension' of the text may only happen at the subconscious level. Neat claim: can't be proved either way. It's just baloney.

Of course, speed reading and photo reading as a THEME for a mental effect is a very different matter. They could both be VERY useful as pseudo-explanations.
Message: Posted by: bobser (Jul 26, 2006 05:35PM)
I got involved with speed reading many years ago through working with many motivational companies here in the UK.
To cut a very long story short, in 'my experience' it's total sh*t (sorry Ian, it's only my findings).
However, if there's anyone out there who would like to SHOW me how it works, wherebye I'd be happy to come on line and admit I don't know diddly... I'm waiting right here.
...... hmmmmmmm no calls as yet!!!
Message: Posted by: chichi711 (Jul 26, 2006 05:35PM)
On 2006-07-25 16:02, landmark wrote:
Where are we all rushing to?

Speed sex too?

Jack Shalom

don't most guys already do that?
Message: Posted by: Fabian L (Jul 26, 2006 06:32PM)
Thanks for your replies. I guess my skeptical faculties were right about PhotoReading. I'm slightly disappointed though -- I was hoping to be able to mentally photograph entire Dostoyevsky novels in minutes and then recall long passages to impress women. ;)
The whole idea of making "mental photographs" of things is fascinating and a very good theme for an effect. Sadly, the brain probably doesn't work that way.
Message: Posted by: Robin DeWitt (Jul 27, 2006 02:59AM)
I think it was Woody Allen who said in relation to speed reading, " read War And Peace in 25 minutes.... It was about Russia.

Robin DeWitt
Message: Posted by: kaytracy (Jul 27, 2006 09:02AM)
Having participated in a few...experiments in grade school, I can tell you that the brain does seem to work in ways that would intimate some of the things that have been said about speed reading are very true.
Shape and object recognition is used more than you think. After all, it IS what is going on when you read.
Some people look at a page and see only small lines and marrkings, some see individual words, and some see entire sentances, or more.
There have already been some discussion on the patterning aspect, for example, the effect of recognizing words even when the letters are mixed up, as long as the first and last letters are in the rihgt plcaes.
For some, these "skills" are easily used and improved upon, for others, it takes time and practice, and still others may never get it. I think it has something to do with cerebral hemisphere dominance stuff.
I also think that the pattern recognition is easier for people who have attention type conditions. (I do not think these are disorders, but rather an evolutionary condition linked to fight or flight) If you have to recognize danger quickly, you do it by a generalized system of recognition, not bit by bit observation, analysis, and statement of conclusion. Just as one used different methods when instructing or teaching others, one can learn and use different methods means of learning ans seeing/comprehending. I t takes time and training (not necessarily money. They do still have libraries for public use!?!)
Message: Posted by: MentaThought (Jul 27, 2006 05:04PM)
On 2006-07-27 10:02, kaytracy wrote:
Having participated in a few...experiments in grade school, I can tell you that the brain does seem to work in ways that would intimate some of the things that have been said about speed reading are very true.
Shape and object recognition is used more than you think. After all, it IS what is going on when you read.
Some people look at a page and see only small lines and marrkings, some see individual words, and some see entire sentances, or more.

One is reminded of the "whole language" fiasco, "whole language" being a hugely controversial strategy to teach children how to read alphabet-based languages not via the use of traditional phonics techniques (wherein words can be broken-down into their component parts) but, rather, by having the learner memorize the distinct "looks" of words (or "word pictures") in their totality.
Critics charged that "whole language" essentially advocated teaching kids to read English and other alphabet-based languages as though they were, for example, non-alphabetic, pictograph-based languages such as Chinese.
"Whole language" was a huge fad in the U.S. from the 1980s until the early-1990s but, in general, has since been supplanted by a reversion to traditional phonics.
Whatever one's take on the merits of "whole language" as a teaching strategy undoubtedly it offers possibilities in the area of themes for mentalism shows, such as performances at teachers' conventions etc.
Message: Posted by: Drewmcadam (Jul 28, 2006 08:16PM)
My wife, Liz, can read the front page of a newspaper (at normal speed) then recite the whole thing back ALMOST word perfect. She has no idea how she doeas it - she just does.

Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (Jul 28, 2006 08:48PM)
Think that's good? My ex-wife could recite all my faults at the drop of hat and even in her sleep!

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 29, 2006 01:12PM)
I've always had a naturally fast reading speed. I slow down when I really want to savor a passage I have read. Tolkein, for example, is difficult for me to speed read, because the language is so rich.

Speed reading Tolkein is like trying to chug a lug very rich, hot soup.
Message: Posted by: Hypnotic Winter (Jul 29, 2006 06:04PM)
A friend of mine has a fully Photographic memory, but it is natural to her. she read all the books the night before her final tests in school and passed while also getting best results in the school, it was very frustrateing for her twin sister who does not have the abality and actually has to study hard.
I on the other hand can speed read, as in just read really really fast, I can also speed count.
I have no idea if these abalitys can be thought,my speed reading just seems natural to me, it's annoying to some extent as books don't last long with me.

Actually something Ian Rowland said there made sence, my vision has been tested and found to be slightly unsual for a male as it is phericial, the focus is clightly off so I do nto focus on one word at a time, I used to skip lines as a child. my vison would explain why I do not just see one word, I see whole sentences.

Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jul 30, 2006 07:27AM)
The current Scientific American Mind magazine has a feature on the guy who was the basis for the film 'Rainman'. He is an autistic savant and one of the savant abilities he has is to read books at a lightening speed with total recall which endures for years and years. Unfortunately I left the magazine on the plane coming home from my gig yesterday so I can't give anymore details but if your interested get yourself a copy.

Cheers Neal