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Re: Speed Reading

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  • Alexander Townend
    Jennifer makes some good points. I echo them, and yes, you may call me biased, as I also lead courses based on Tony s work here in Canada. But just because it
    Message 1 of 73 , Jan 30, 2003
      Jennifer makes some good points. I echo them, and yes, you may call me
      biased, as I also lead courses based on Tony's work here in Canada. But
      just because it may have the appearance of bias doesn't mean it's not
      backed up by solid experience.

      I started my reading test at about 165 wpm, and in one day of training
      was over 500. No, the reading wasn't "the same" - it was different, as I
      was using different techniques. And the results haven't been the same
      since then either. My experience has been that my comprehension,
      retention and recall of *any* material I have been reading, using the
      Range reading techniques, has improved directly - and dramatically -
      because of them. I have used (and continue to use) them to study some
      complex Chinese philosophical / medical texts, (I'm also an acupressure
      therapist) and they work just as well for complex technical material as
      they do for "light" reading. The improvement has been limited only by
      the amount of effort I have put into the practice, and the overall time
      I have devoted to it.

      I had the good fortune to be trained in Range Reading (range referring
      to using a range of skills and speeds, adapted and appropriate to the
      purpose at hand), by Jamie Nast, Master Trainer for North America, and
      Vanda North. I believe both of these people have great integrity and I
      also believe that they both are honest when they report their own
      improvements in reading speeds - with reliable comprehension and
      retention - having learned and applied the principles properly.

      I've pondered the email points Charlie has brought forth, and what
      stands out for me is the repetitive levels where skepticism asserts
      itself; I was skeptical as well. I still am. YET, in admitting my
      skepticism, I was (and continue to be) willing to set it aside and
      actually try on the new behaviour / skills, rather than to allow the
      skepticism to rob me of an opportunity for growth. I'm glad I did,
      because there have been times in the past when I have allowed myself to
      *not* try something new, as a result of listening to my inner skeptic.

      Improving my reading speed and comprehension proved to be a surprisingly
      emotional breakthrough, and one which my skepticism, with all it's
      insight, failed to predict. It lead me to questioning what the function
      of the skepticism is. It wants to protect me from emotional pain; the
      pain of disappointment or disillusionment or looking like a gullible
      fool. So now skepticism is my friend - as it helps me hunt down the
      places in my psyche where I have placed an artificial limit on myself,
      stopping me from risking, and there just might be an "aha!" waiting to
      happen. on the other side.

      We're all more than we think we are.


      Alexander Townend (contact information below)

      Natural Genius Training & Development

      Tools for Change. Tools for Growth. Tools for Freedom...

      Canada Toll Free: 1-888-319-6677

      Cell: 905-815-3996 (a local call from Toronto and Burlington)

      Phone: 905-335-4628 (a local call from Hamilton and Burlington)

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Lee Mills
      Great post, Steve. The course I took in college, which only upped my speed by about 25%, was based on the Woods technique. This is why, when it came time to
      Message 73 of 73 , Dec 30, 2006
        Great post, Steve. The course I took in college, which
        only upped my speed by about 25%, was based on the
        Woods technique. This is why, when it came time to
        take the Woods course, it just didn't resonate:
        nothing offered there was new.

        The Berg course that utilized the visual centers of
        the brain's capabilities, as well as encouraging
        analytical thought, really played into things that I'd
        already begun to discover, or knew from Psyc courses.
        It also FELT much more natural than the other courses.
        If I'm not comfortable with a thing, I know that
        chances are I won't use it, unless there's an
        extremely pressing need for it.

        There's a fair bit more to it than the things I
        covered in my post, too. And, he gets to the meat of
        his subject really fast, as opposed to taking weeks.

        One thing I make a practice of doing that I don't see
        taught anywhere, is that I try to find a way to make
        info that bores me interesting to me. I don't think
        you can teach this, though, since people's interests
        differ. We kind of have to find our own way on that.
        All you can do is make others aware that this can be
        done, and that it makes study much easier.

        This is an area of interest for me also.
        First, let me say that I agree with Claus in that you
        can read and learn,
        and then not be able to recall every written word, but
        still be able to
        access the general fund of information. Having said
        that though, I must
        say, my university courses which buttressed reading
        with writing,
        discussion, projects, etc. did "stick with me" better
        through the years.

        I just got SpeedReaderX. It had good reviews on the
        net, and I must say
        that it's a nice tool. I have many speed reading
        books. I find that most
        are based on the Wood stuff. (Evelyn Wood?). THe most
        far out one is
        "Photoreading" where you don't even focus on each
        word--or even each line.
        Just let your peripheral vision "photo glimpse" the
        page and then over night
        the content of the material is supposed to crystallize
        into assessable
        knowledge--at least that's what the author claims.
        Actually I'm a school
        psychologist, so much of my university course work was
        on teaching/learning reading--not speed reading, but
        beginning level reading
        skills. It's actually sortof ironic that the bulk of
        empirical research
        (and there's a TON of it!) suggests that teaching
        phonetically (little bits
        first; bottom-up) is more effective than whole
        language (immersion;
        top-down) for acquiring reading skills. But as many
        speed reading books
        point out, this is antithetical to speed reading.

        Anyway... Last thoughts: Basic cognitive psych 101
        tells us that verbal
        info has to be ATTENDED to and ENCODED to get past
        sort-term memory and into
        long-term. If we read word by word (with little voice
        in head) I would say
        we're encoding 'verbally.' However, IMHO, we don't
        always need to do this
        for the written word. For example, if you're skimming
        the newspaper and
        your first name is in it, it's likely to 'jump out' at
        you. Similarly, the
        words STOP, LOVE, DANGER, or MOM might be ones that
        your brain could
        associate/pair with whatever behavior or feeling they
        correspond to BEFORE
        you're even really aware (at a verbal level) of what
        the word was.... If
        this is true, then the info must be getting encoded
        visually, circumventing
        the language centers of the brain (Werneckie's Area in
        left Temporal
        Lobe??). This shouldn't be too surprising of an
        occurrence considering that
        the visual parts of the brain are way way bigger than
        the language parts
        and, from an evolutionary perspective, are much much
        older. Given these
        half-baked meanderings, it seems like, in as much as
        you are so familiar
        with the words of a given text that each word can be
        meaningfully accessed
        non-verbally, then you can move to visually encoding
        combinations of words
        DANGER (one word) DO NOT ENTER (combination) .

        Okay last thought--really: Don't forget the previous
        poster who indicated
        that level of interest in the subject, prior
        information, energy level, etc,
        etc, are all extremely important in "getting" what you

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