Speed Reading

On Friday I traveled to Columbia, South Carolina, for a social media conference. The conference went well but there was one peculiar part. Toward the start of the day, one of the presenters randomly pitched us on a speed reading book they had for sale. Prefacing his plea by saying “Now I know this has nothing to do with social media…” he discussed how speed reading is legit and how it had helped him bolster his reading performance. I did not buy the book.

Although I am fascinated by speed reading, I am skeptical. First thing that jumps into my mind is an infomercial that used to play over and over when I was in my early teens. A fat guy with glasses sat at a table with a host across from him while he would demonstrate his speed reading skills. Using his hand to scan each line of the page, he moved his fingers at lightning speed in a downward motion, then he would violently turn the page and continue his rampage. He put on quite the show. And, he managed to correctly answer the comprehension questions asked by the host. I mean come on, don’t for one second think the speed reader was prepped/provided with any of the answers. They do all those infomercials live, right?

I have no idea how speed reading works. I neglected to do a Google search to see if I could find out the basics of the speed reading formula. However, in my ignorance, I think speed reading could possibly be a giant scam. I admit, I have only seen the con artist on television demonstrate the technique. I don’t think real speed readers physically beat up a book and practically tear out every page. I am thinking the legit ones have a more subdued and less flashy way of getting through literature quickly.

But here is my main question: Why aren’t there more speed readers out there? In my lifetime I have never known a legitimate speed reader. Way back in the day I had a classmate who claimed to speed read but it was a giant hoax. I know many avid readers, professors, and students…none of them speed read. Why is that? Although I understand that many folks might say they want to enjoy a book at normal speed, you would think majority of people who are very dependent on reading would be invested in the technique.

So I turn it over to my readers. Have you ever undergone any training for speed reading before? Is it legitimate? Do you speed read through my blog? Please let me know. Don’t Blink.

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