speed-reading program

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speed-reading program

Post by petew83 » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:28 pm


What do u think?

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Post by aruffo » Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:06 pm

I think it's completely wrong. Its fatal assumption is that speed reading involves processing words-- at any rate, fast or slow. Speed reading is structural inference, and is completely contrary to that website's approach.

For example. In a paragraph written with even minimal competence, the first few sentences introduce the topic and the last few make the point. When I'm reading with maximum rapidity ("skimming"), all I need to read is the first sentence, and possibly the last, and I'll also pluck out structurally-indicated non-functional words within the body text. If someone did an eye-tracking study on my speed reading-- when I'm really speeding-- it would hardly be linear. It'd be all over the page.

And, when I'm not skimming, what allows me to read quickly is that I don't read words. I read sentences-- sometimes paragraphs. I don't need to read words if I already know what a sentence says. If that seems like an odd thing to conceive, I'd say it's really just a broader version of what most people ordinarily do with words; you don't need to read letters if you already know what a word says. To that end, that website's initial task of presenting you with one word at a time would not only fail to lead to speedier reading, but by encouraging you to actually pay attention to words instead of learning to ignore words in favor of structure, I would suspect it'd be more likely to contribute to a slower reading strategy.

I'm not speculating about this-- as I think I've described elsewhere, when I went blind with teichopsia that weekend I was constantly trying to read as my eyesight gradually returned, and the ongoing comparisons between what I unconsciously expected to be able to do versus what I was physically able to do were vividly informative.

My interest in teaching people to "speed read" is pretty low.. it seems probable that this is another reason why absolute pitch is still so unusual. Those with the ability don't have the patience to figure out how others can learn it; those who don't have it completely misunderstand how it works. That website says, rightly, that speed reading is about reading in larger chunks; but it thinks, wrongly, that achieving those chunks is a matter of stringing words together. I'd suspect, or even assert, that it's a matter of learning how to unconsciously intuit which parts are important enough to consciously notice.

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Post by paul-donnelly » Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:12 am

That site is an instance of Rapid Serial Visual Presentation. I've fooled with other implementations of it before, and it is indeed true that you can ratchet up the speed to dizzying rates and still make out phrases. On the other hand, you're liable to miss stuff if you glance elsewhere or blink ( :? ), which is kind of a minus. As I understand it, turning the speed up past a normal reading rate carries a comprehension hit, but I don't know how the severity compares with other reading strategies. There's a Firefox addon for this too.

What I subjectively get from my experience is that absent structure, whole blocks of text can just slip my mind and it will be as if I never saw them. When I run through a paragraph or two with RSVP software then read it "manually" I often am surprised by things I can't recall having seen. Perhaps this is just me being more hyper-alert to forgetfulness than I am normally though.

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Post by aruffo » Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:30 pm

I wouldn't dismiss your experience. If (as I assert) the difference between speed-reading and not is reading holistically versus "building", then rapid serial presentation merely allows you to do the same thing differently rather than actually teach you to read faster. Looking at a zillion different words, instead of a handful of sentences, seriously overtaxes the memory.

I tried that website, and I quickly became frustrated with seeing one word at a time. The "fast" presentation of words slowed me down tremendously; I had to attend to each word independently and, once I got enough words to build a sensible phrase, I had to think backwards to comprehend that phrase from the words I'd previously processed-- and what's more, I had to actively process and discard functional words, so that words like "the" received as much conscious attention as would "presentation" or "discard". Fast reading isn't reading individual words more quickly; it's reading everything all at once.

I mean, seriously. Just try reading any sentence here by spelling out all of the words letter by letter. You could probably learn to do this very very quickly, but good grief! What a laborious waste of time... it should be pretty obvious, by analogy to words and sentences, that such an approach would ultimately slow you down, and cannot lead to "speed reading" of words.

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Post by DeadLugosi » Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:09 am

Most speed reading methods (I'm talking about methods to read quickly entire sentences exhaustivly, not about "skimming") make you see more words without moving the eye, because when reading, analysis takes very few time compared to moving the eye over and over, so if you see half a line instead of two words, you will spend about the same time on your half a line than you would have spent on your two words, and that way you'll read much faster (of course there are methods to really learn to do that, but even starting to try seeing more words in only one sight helps), they also teach you never to go back to a previous word, and in that way this site may help, concerning comprehension, those methods (I'm not a speed reader yet, I precise) are said to improve it because not going back helps you really try to understand what your read and seeing almost the whole sentence in one sight helps not getting confused.
I don't think your site is very good because of the default settings first (on word isn't enough at all and 300 words per minute is the average for someone who reads regularly -although one tends to read slower on a computer screen-), but also because even if you change the settings, a lot of things that happen in really miss: I tried the first chapter of the picture of dorian gray at 750wpm with 6 words per display and I didn't understand much because:
-I read English slower than French (but it has nothing to do with the software of course)
-I can get through 600wpm but 750 is much harder to me (once again nothing to do with the site)
-When you set things to 6 word per display, well it just can get a bit too large when you have long words
-The site doesn't display things like paragraphs etc.

So I don't think this site is a good method for speed reading.

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Re:speed-reading program

Post by briancox » Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:44 am

If you can read 200 Words per minute then your reading skill is good.In order to improve our reading speed we need to attend the speed reading classes.It can be attained both in online as well as the offline.It costs around 70$ for the entire course.

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