Since you’ve started your quest on speed reading, you may have encountered the PhotoReading System developed by Paul Scheele. This is a product which promises to increase reading rates up to 25,000 words per minute1. This really sounds awesome and amazing if this happens. This may also be considered the dream of many who are pursuing advances in speed reading.
But is this really possible and if so, is this better than learning and practicing the speed reading techniques we’ve mentioned in the previous lessons?
PhotoReading involves 5 processes which are focused on utilizing the subconscious element of the mind to read and comprehend information in all kinds of reading materials. It emphasizes on the need to have a state of mind ready to absorb information as quickly as one second per page just by taking mental pictures of each page.
PhotoReading enthusiasts have stressed that it is not reading faster but learning in layers since the reader needs to go through the material several times using the various PhotoReading techniques until he has understood and absorbed the whole material.
This sounds logical but a study by NASA showed that PhotoReading doubled the reading rates with lesser comprehension compared to normal reading1. There was just not enough evidence showing that the mind can process that vast amount of information in a short span of time by convincing or as some of the processes in the system goes, by hypnotizing yourself to be able to control the brain waves to absorb more information.
At the same time, even if it shows that only 5 steps are needed to photoread an article or a book, several minor steps need to be studied and mastered within each of those 5 steps. And all those minor steps require a lot of time and practice before you can actually just do the 5 steps in PhotoReading.
This system needs more studies to be proven effective. But it may have a point in increasing speeds in reading and comprehension because of the natural abilities of humans to learn visually.
On the other hand, speed reading techniques have been in used and studied since the 1950s. It is not considered as an unattainable skill anymore though it is still very amazing to lay eyes on a very skilled speed reader. It is a skill which has been learned and endorsed by famous persons like the late US Presidents John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter.
Speed reading methods focus on training the conscious part of the mind through simple processes which can be practiced in a short period of time. Of course, to master it would still require additional time and effort but not too much. The goals of speed reading are considered feasible too because even if some speed readers claim they can read 2000 words per minute with good comprehension, it is still realistic since a letter sized page can contain about five hundred to a thousand words.
In the process of learning speed reading, the memory is also enhanced because the methods aim to help retain understanding of the materials being read at a fast rate too. So it gives an added bonus as you go through each method.