Reading is not just an activity; it’s a skill which is an integral part of everyone’s educational and professional path. The most successful and formidable people in the world do not just read, but they read fast and inhale information in a matter of seconds, saving a huge amount of time to work on other important matters. Since decades students have been told and instructed to read each and every word slowly. But the fact is it’s not about reading slowly and carefully, it’s about reading the concept and visualising it for better retention in the memory. In short, it is about understanding and comprehending the information while saving time. What if a student can read a complete paragraph in a matter of seconds and understands the concept at the same time. With the proliferation of the Internet and latest education systems in our country, there is so much to read! Jas Johari, Co-Founder & Advance Licensed Intructor, Buzan Centre debunks the 5 myths related to reading and comprehension.
By reading slowly one can concentrate better: The kids of our generation encounter much more information in the form of texts and visuals than previous generations. Why should one take in only a few words, when the brain can absorb larger chunks of text? It is a huge myth among parents and teachers that reading slowly increases concentration. The truth is while reading slowly, the reader tend to end up spending more time in thinking and comprehending the situation or the theory in his mind end up losing on the information the reader absorbed in the earlier paragraphs of the books/theory
Comprehension and understanding comes from reading slowly: While going through their text books, students often tend to read all the words and sentences very slowly as they think it is the way to learn, understand and comprehend. But at the same time, when one is given a novel to read, one tends to read it at a faster pace and still understand what the story is all about. One must always keep in mind that there are a lot of words in sentences and paragraphs that are not essential to the meaning of that paragraph. They are supposed to be read for ideas, not words. Therefore, comprehension and understanding doesn’t come from reading slowly and carefully.
Reading slowly will enhance the memory & retention: Memory and reading slowly are not at all connected. When one reads slowly, it is difficult to concentrate and chances are that the readers will go into day dreaming. This happens because the human brain is capable of grasping knowledge and information at a much higher speed and by reading one word at a time, the brain starts day dreaming. When one gets distracted, it takes normally 25 minutes for the brain to return focus to the original task. By reading fast, the concentration doesn’t waver and one is able to completely focus on the particular subject.
Everyone reads at a natural reading speed: According to many, reading is a skill that a human being is born with.According to them,speed reading orreading slowly comes to them naturally. But scientifically, it is proven that reading comes from learning. Reading skills may differ from person to person. For example, when two people drive a car, they do it at different speeds. This is because they have learnt to drive differently, and not because it comes to them naturally. There is no such thing called ‘natural reading speed’
Myth 5: It is impossible to read beyond 1000 words per minute: Speed readers read up to 3500 words per minute, and some even beyond that. An average person read around 200-400 per minute and this limit can be increased by regular speed reading exercises. It is a learnable skill and once a person gets a hang of it, it is possible for an average brain to read many words per minute. Today a world speed reading champion reads approx. 4500 words per minute without losing the essence of comprehending what he/she is reading.
‘The author is a Buzan advanced licensed instructor and world speed reading champion. She is also the Co- Founder of the Buzan Centre Pune working with students and corporates across the country on ‘training your brain’