Speed reading is the name for a number of ways to increase the speed at which a text can be read, so that the important facts of the text can still be understood. There are different ways to improve reading speed, but they are all similar. A trained reader is able to read and understand between 200 and 300 words per minute, for a text that is not very difficult to understand. Better training can improve this speed to over 1000 words per minute. Using a lot of exercise, it is possible to increase reading speed further. The best readers can read between 3000 and 4000 words per minute, and understand about 80% of them.
How do people read[change | change source]
In general, only a small part of the letters read are seen clearly. The brain guesses what the rest of the word is, based on a small part of the word. This also applies to groups of words, which are treated the same way. Known groups are handled faster, because the reader knows them, and also has an "image" for them.
What is very important when reading text is the ability to recognize words and word groups. The reader will then add the known image to the context. A known font can help this.
What is bad for speed reading is having a bad short term memory. Another factor is a small vocabulary. People who only know few words, need more time to "scan" unknown words, simply because fewer words in the text are known.