What it is?

Shorthand is:

  • the ability of a person to quickly perceive textual information with a high level of perception using special reading methods;
  • a set of skills for processing and qualitative assimilation of information;
  • a useful tool for saving personal and production time;
  • an effective tool for the development of intelligence and memory training.

Speed ​​reading is not an end in itself. It is important to be able to understand the essence and meaning of the written text while reading quickly and confidently. Having mastered the technique of speed reading, you can increase the speed of perception by 3-4 times. If the average speed of standard reading of an adult is 200-250 words per minute, then with speed reading it increases to 600-700 words.

Some experts note that with speed reading, the percentage of assimilation of the material in comparison with ordinary reading inevitably decreases. That is why the ability to extract the main meaning from the text, to keep the material in memory and to filter out irrelevant points becomes especially relevant when speed reading.

Basic principles

When using the speed reading technique, two basic principles apply.

  • Skimming. It is a visual search for sentences in the text to identify clues to the main question or reading purpose. The beginning and end of the text are read, then the first sentence of each paragraph, to quickly determine if additional detailed information is needed for a given question. It is a mistake to think that skimming is a random process, because for the effectiveness of reading, structure is needed, more important is what is read, and not what is omitted.
  • Scanning. This is the process of finding the right information using a mind map formed from skimming. For successful scanning, it must be clear how the material is structured and what to read so that you can find the information you need. The scan includes the main thesis, headings, facts, important pieces of information.

The components of speed reading techniques are special text processing techniques, search algorithms, text processing, wide coverage of the text at a glance.

Why is this needed?

There is no doubt that the modern rhythm of life is experiencing information overload. The amount of information is growing almost exponentially. How not to get lost in this fast flow? Numerous sources of information – television, the Internet, brochures, magazines, popular science publications – everything is overflowing with information about changes in various technologies, about all kinds of news, about new trends in some processes. To remain successful, one must have knowledge in competitive areas, respond quickly to changing situations, and always be “afloat”.

Of course, speed reading is not a panacea, but to a large extent it helps to “keep abreast of the times.” In addition, when reading quickly, a person develops “bonuses” that create additional advantages in some aspects of life.

  • Memory training. With speed reading, the human brain begins to work at a higher level. If classes on mastering the technique of speed reading become a system, the perception and memorization of information are improved, memory is trained.
  • Emphasis of attention. Speed ​​reading methods allow you to fully concentrate on reading, not be distracted by extraneous thoughts that are far from the material being read. As a result, attention is completely directed to obtaining information from the text being read.
  • Development of logical thinking. Reading is an exercise for the brain. Training the brain with speed reading helps to sort information more efficiently and form the right connections with fragments of knowledge previously stored in memory. With an increase in the speed of reading, the inductance of thinking automatically improves.

Benefit and harm

Historically known facts from the life of world famous personalities, albeit indirectly, are nevertheless an indicator that speed reading contributes to success and this is not a myth. Suffice it to say that our famous compatriots Maxim Gorky, Alexander Pushkin, Vladimir Lenin, as well as foreign leaders of various historical eras, were able to read quickly – Napoleon Bonaparte, Theodore Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Karl Marx and many other famous personalities. It follows that mastering speed reading is a worthwhile thing.

Speed ​​reading is the only method that turns on mental activity simultaneously in both hemispheres of the brain. The development of inductive thinking and the speed of thought processes during speed reading will allow you to track the author’s intention and quickly capture the structure of the text.

Despite the obvious advantages of speed reading, recognized by many of those who have mastered this technique, the debate over existing methods continues to this day. There are many opponents who consider speed reading not reading as such, but viewing texts. For the most part, opponents note one, but a very significant minus – The developed methods for speed reading do not allow to fully understand the meaning of what is read. Woody Allen, an American writer, actor and film director, a connoisseur of literature and music, is often quoted in critical articles: “I read War and Peace in 20 minutes. There is something about Russia.

It is not worth hoping to read several thousand words per minute without losing understanding; one must adequately assess the real capabilities of a person.

How to develop this skill?

Some people are able to learn speed reading on their own, without attending special courses and trainings. Purposefulness, faith in success, daily training according to special methods will certainly lead to success. From the start of training to the acquisition of stable skills, it will take some time. Psychologists advise for 21 days to perform special exercises for 40-60 minutes every day.

Understanding words and meanings in their relationship, the ability to systematize verbal information, developed verbal intelligence are in close interaction with high-speed reading. For a more successful development of speed reading, it is good to get acquainted with the basics of linguistics and stylistics, to have a good imagination in order to correctly guess what the author of the text said.

Reading speed is directly affected by several factors:

  • subvocalization (pronunciation of the text in the mind);
  • regression – returning to individual fragments of the text and rereading them;
  • limited field of view – the area of ​​coverage of the text in one stop of sight;
  • the degree of concentration of attention, the ability to read without distraction;
  • superficial reading – the ability to quickly find key words and theses in the text.

These obstacles can be overcome only with the use of special skills honed by impressive practice. Such skills are acquired by systematic training according to special methods with the help of developed exercises. Here are some working tips for mastering speed reading.

  • Suppression of articulation (the work of the organs of speech). Allows you to get rid of subvocalization (mental pronunciation of the text). This natural process significantly slows down reading. Rhythmic tapping on the table, a quiet countdown, pronunciation of tongue twisters, reading simple rhymes, singing melodies without words are well distracted from subvocalization. It will not work to do any of this and at the same time pronounce the text in the mind, the habit will disappear.
  • Reading with a pointer. Helps to get rid of regressive reading. A pointer can be a pencil, a stick, or just a finger – as you like. The gaze should continuously slide along the line, without breaking away from the movement of the pointer, so as not to return to the read text again.
  • Green dot method. Trains the perception of information in the field of peripheral vision. On a page with text in the center, you need to draw a green dot and look at it carefully for 10 minutes. After two weeks of such exercises, you can begin to look at the text up, down and to the side of the point, covering as much of the area as possible with your eyes. Words should just be seen without reading.
  • Diagonal reading. Develops the ability to see key phrases in the text and filter out irrelevant information. You need to glide your eyes diagonally from top to bottom, while not returning to what you read and not turning your eyes around. At first, it will be possible to cover a few words, but time will pass, and constant training will significantly increase perception. A well-trained person needs only to look at a page with text to understand the essence of what is written.
  • Reading upside down text. First, a paragraph is read on an upside down page, then the book returns to its normal position and the paragraph is read again. This is a workout to increase reading speed.
  • The tick-tock method. Significantly increases reading speed. The gaze captures the beginnings and ends of the lines, and not all the words in them, this is enough to understand the meaning of what is read.
  • Gibberish practice. Reading from right to left (gibberish reading) develops concentration. You need to start training with expressions that are read without difference both from left to right and vice versa (palindromes). Examples: “The cat is about forty days old”, “The boar pressed the eggplant”, etc. (in our time, such texts are easy to find), then train on ordinary texts.

Time for classes should be thought out in advance. The place must be comfortable. It is useless to train in places where you cannot concentrate. After familiarizing yourself with the basic principles, you can start learning in courses or try to learn how to read quickly on your own. There are developments of foreign and domestic authors on the development of speed reading, textbooks and videos, special courses and trainings.

It takes a lot of practice to successfully master the technique of speed reading. All this together will make it possible to correctly perceive and store information in memory, and in the future – to practically use the knowledge gained.

At what age do you start training?

Successful people at all times have been and remain the object of admiration, and often envy. Most parents would like to see their children successful in the future, and many do not just want, but try in every possible way to develop a child. Teaching a child to read quickly with understanding of the text and correct intonation is not in the last place.

At what age should children start learning to read quickly? There are no unequivocal recommendations on this issue. Some experts believe that it is possible to start teaching a child to read quickly from the age of 5-7. At this age, the brain is able to memorize material as quickly as possible, but on the condition that the child already knows how to read well in whole words, and not in syllables. Other authors of the methods advise starting training at the age of 7-10, at which time children confidently read the words and clearly understand what is written.

But most experts are inclined to believe that The optimal age to start learning speed reading is between 10 and 12 years old. At this age, the child has a sufficiently developed memory, he understands information well, remembers it at the speed of spoken speech, and is able to clearly retell the text.

An important and obligatory condition is the voluntary desire of the child himself to study. You can’t force a child to do exercises, nothing good will come of it. Teaching methodology should be selected according to age.

Who will benefit from this technique?

The skill of speed reading is necessary in various professions associated with the daily need to read and memorize large amounts of textual information. Speed ​​reading will certainly come in handy for lawyers, teachers, reviewers, editors, translators – everyone whose field of activity is related to texts. It is difficult to overestimate the benefits of speed reading for students – in the process of learning they have to read and process a lot of textual information in order to prepare for the session and write term papers and theses. In school programs, the amount of information is also increasing every year.

For those modern teenagers who, already in their school years, are thinking about a successful future, the skill of speed reading will also not be superfluous.


It is naive to count on immediate results and despair if, upon verification, they turned out to be far from expected. But if you take into account some points in time before starting training, you can significantly speed up this process.

  • Reading without prior preparation is a serious mistake. First you need to ask yourself – why do you need to read the material? Questions are markers by which the most important information is extracted from the text. Without questions, reading is meaningless, the text is simply “absorbed”.
  • First you need to learn how to read well at the usual speedunderstand and remember information from the first reading, read without being distracted by anything, and only then begin to master speed reading.
  • Don’t let the thought “I can’t do it”. The opinion that in order to master speed reading you need to be super talented is a mistake. No one will argue that the mental abilities of people vary greatly, but everyone can learn speed reading with a great desire. Absolutely everyone has a memory, you just need to “wake it up”, develop and train it so that there is no trace of fear of voluminous texts.
  • Don’t jump from method to method. you need to choose what is stated in an accessible, understandable language for you in order to master the technique once and for all, and in the future only improve the initial skills with constant practice.

Having mastered the technique of speed reading, most use it when reading popular science, business or educational literature.

Fiction and poetry can be read at normal speed so as not to lose the effect of enjoying reading. There are no difficulties with the transition from one way of reading to another.