— Speed Reading

Thirsting for faster knowledge

In 2014, I successfully learned to speed read. I journaled my progress in a blog, the link to which can be found here.I have archived those blog posts to this section of the website. Post #1 is lower on this page. The links to posts #2-#12 are immediately below this introduction.

For those ready to begin immediately without sifting through my commentary, I will summarize my conclusions and advice with two strong recommendations:

1) Acceleread App (direct iOS link). This is the complete training course, with excellent explanations and exercises. Acceleread is the singular key to learning how to speed read.

2) Spreeder. To augment your experience, I recommend the the Spreeder web app. Paste text into the field, and Spreeder will have the text move as fast as you like in any font size and with chunks of words as large or as small as desired. It is a great training tool for gaining speed. Acceleread, meanwhile, trains you to do the same thing in a marvelously graded program; thus, Acceleread is actually better for the beginner and better overall since it adapts to your current capability and pushes you gently towards more skillful speed reading. However, importing text into Acceleread is a bit involved; Spreeder allows you to copy and paste.

Therefore, I recommend training with Acceleread and learning what the whole speed reading skill set involves, and going to Spreeder as desired to practice. Understanding Acceleread will allow you to take advantage of the dynamic flexibility of Spreeder. Try it and see what I mean!

Speed Reading Blog:

1. Intro: Why Speed Reading (on this page)

2. Beginning to Speed Read

3. Spreeder & Presidential Speed Readers

4. Acceleread - The Best App

5. Acceleread Lesson 4

6. Speed Reading on Facebook

7. Acceleread Lesson 5 & The Three Musketeers

8. Acceleread Lesson 6 & 7

9. Acceleread Lesson 8, 9, & 10

10. Acceleread Intermediate Course Lesson 1

11. Acceleread Intermediate Course Lesson 2, 3, & 4

12. Acceleread Intermediate Course Lesson 5, 6, 7, 8



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

1. Intro: Why Speed Reading

Speed Reading! Can it be done? How long will it take? Is to for everyone? Is it for real?

Even if reading quickly, can comprehension be maintained?

The purpose of this blog is to help answer these personal questions of mine (and maybe yours too) as I begin to learn this seemingly elusive skill. As there is very little in the way of an online network just for speed readers, my goal for this blog is to help form a bedrock upon which a potentially growing community of page-flippers may construct their foundation.


Last week I was lent the bestseller book Killing Kennedy which, although I was grateful for the loan, stacked itself on top of an already dispiritingly high reading list of material that I need and want to consume. As I made my way through the first few chapters, I learned that JFK was a speed reader, with the ability to pore through 1,200 words per minute! I was so impressed by this that I decided to take advantage of the internet's compendium of information to see if I might find more on the subject.


I have always been a fairly slow reader. Or at least, slower than average, from what I could tell. While I did well in school, I would observe my classmates seeming to read faster than I. While I don't recall any instance of this in particular, I do remember once when I was a grade school student asking my mother about the topic (parents being the pre-internet of the day), having heard of the idea from TV or some source, and her response was that speed reading is merely skimming. Upon informing her that I wished my own speed to increase, her answer was that I should read more.

But I found reading to be a drudgery. I never read for pleasure. Although captivated by abstract concepts such as the sciences and foreign languages my whole life, which I would actively read about in books or on the internet, it was seldom if ever that I picked up a piece of literature that wasn't handed to me in school. My particular interest in ancient Rome has led me to be better read in the Latin classics (in the original) than English classics!

While I have profited immensely from the various studies I have pursued over the years, I always regretted my inability to read faster. While I am confident in retaining information I read rather well at my slow pace, I always wondered if there were a faster way. Since I enjoy public speaking and theater, I like to hear the voices of the author or the characters as I imagine them as vividly as possible, which I had thought thought might be contributing to my retention (but this may not be the case). It's worth mentioning that I am an avid reader of news articles, and as I've adapted to certain newspapers' style I can run through the articles at what I used to consider a fast pace.


While it has only been a week since I began this new journey, I was immediately impelled from the start by the internet's culture of instant gratification to find the darned answer! I was convinced that there must be a comprehensive solution. If JFK could read as fast as he did, and make a point to have his staff trained in the techniques as well, it couldn't be as elusive as I once had conceived.

One of the early problems I noted was that there is hardly any discernible online community that cultivates this skill, and as I have already come to see the benefits of the techniques involved, it greatly surprised me that others have not gone out of their way to share their abilities and teach others in open forum much as people do for any variety of subjects like physical fitness, language study, painting skills, etc. While there are a number of companies selling courses and programs to teach speed reading, I have yet to find their graduates — so if they were successful, let them find this blog too and share ideas with each other and would-be students.

In the next blog entry I will relate my initial findings and progress, and how I managed to finish Killing Kennedy faster than I had ever imagined possible.







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