Regular readers often experiment with different reading speeds. The general perception is that if you’re reading fast, you can read more and understand more.
However, is it true?
Is fast reading bad? Or is fast reading good?
Today, I will answer this question for you. With a detailed post below, I will provide you with a direct answer and back it up with plenty of reasons.
By the end of my post, you will know, is fast reading bad? Should you increase your reading speed?
Is fast reading bad?
Fast reading isn’t bad itself, because it increases your ability to consume books. However, you should keep in mind that it can be hard to learn and once you increase your reading speed beyond 200 words per minute to 300 words per minute, your comprehension ability decreases immensely.
There are a few other reasons as well. I will go into the details of all these reasons below.
What's Included in This Post
Why is speed reading not for everyone?
Of course, the primary reason is that your understanding capacity reduces as your reading speed increases beyond 200 words per minute to 300 words per minute.
However, when you look at all the reasons I will highlight below, it is easy to understand why you shouldn’t attempt to read that fast.
1. Less comprehension
The primary reason is that as you go beyond 300 words per minute, it becomes difficult for your mind to grasp each and everything you are reading. Depending on the book’s context, you might need to grasp newer topics as you might need to associate the storyline.
The mind cannot do any of these when you’re reading at such a high speed. The less comprehension means that you will not gain anything from reading that book.
2. Need to read again
What happens when you’re not able to understand or comprehend a certain thing which you are reading?
Of course, you will be rereading it!
The problem is that when you’re rereading it, not only will you be reading slow but also you will be wasting time on reading it again and again.
The total time you will spend reading that particular paragraph or that specific page will be much higher than fast reading.
You will end up wasting a lot more time than what you will save reading it fast in the first attempt.
3. Not enjoyable
Many readers read books to enjoy the entire experience and to gain knowledge in the process.
When you’re reading fast, reading books is not enjoyable anymore. It seems like a chore.
Chores soon become monotonous. In that case, you will not enjoy reading it all.
When you do not enjoy a certain chore, sooner than later, you will abandon it.
The endeavor to read fast can jeopardize your entire reading habit as well. From an avid reader, you might avoid reading altogether.
This is indeed a big disadvantage.
It is another reason to avoid fast reading.
4. Difficult to associate
Whether you’re reading for college or reading a fiction book, it is always essential to associate one concept with another. Only when you do so you can benefit from that book.
In the book, there might be different topics to associate with one another. If you’re reading at speed greater than 300 words per minute, it will become difficult for you to associate things. You might forget topics or overlook them. When that happens, you will not gain anything from reading the book.
These are the reasons why you should avoid fast reading.
Similarly, there are quite a few advantages of reading slowly as well. I will go into these advantages below.
Why is it ok to read slow?
Reading slowly provides you with numerous advantages. It is time to look at some of these.
1. Time-saving in longer-run
If you understand each and everything on the 1st attempt, reading fast can save you a lot of time. However it has been proven that when you’re reading it at a speed greater than 300 words per minute, you will not be able to comprehend everything.
On the other hand, when you’re reading slow in the very 1st attempt, you can comprehend every topic. There is no need to reread anything.
Due to the same, by reading slow, you can save time in the longer run. It is because you can understand everything in the very 1st attempt.
2. Better recall
When you process the information at the same speed as reading, you likely recall the information in a much better way.
If you increase your reading speed beyond 200 words per minute to 300 words per minute, your mind cannot process the information at the same speed. Due to this, your mind will be all confused.
When it is confusing, it might not be able to recall all the concepts of whatever you are reading.
With slow reading, you can allow the mind to process information at the same speed you are reading. Consequently, the recall ability will be much higher. You’re likely to remember much more of what you are reading. It is another advantage of reading slow.
3. Less stressful
When you’re reading fast, you are going against your nature. Your mind is not able to process information that fast. That is why, you will be putting more stress on your mind when reading fast.
By reading fast, you will make the entire activity much more stressful for you.
The opposite of this is also true. When reading slow, the stress on your mind reduces significantly. You can process information at your natural speed.
From being stressful, reading will turn into a pleasurable activity for you.
These 3 are the primary reasons why you should read slow rather than reading fast.
How to read a bit faster without affecting your comprehension?
However, you need to understand that if you’re reading slow like 100 words per minute to 200 words per minute, you can easily increase your speed by 20%. However, there is a proper procedure to do so. You cannot increase your reading speed overnight.
I will let you know how you can read a bit faster without affecting your comprehension.
1. Increase speed gradually
You need to remember that you have to increase your speed gradually. You have to attempt to increase your speed just by 1% to 2% per day. The speed increases are not even noticeable. You will not feel stressed when increasing your reading speed in such smaller steps.
It is one of the easiest ways to increase your reading speed.
2. Avoid distractions
Increasing your reading speed and suffering from distractions cannot happen at the same pace. If you suffer distractions like someone calling you, talking with you, or a notification on a smart phone, your reading speed will go down drastically.
Many times, you might be required to reread the same part. When that happens, your reading speed will slow down rather than increase.
If you’re serious about increasing your reading speed, you have no other alternative but to avoid distractions altogether.
The best way is is by following the few tips below:
• You have to ensure that your smartphone is in another room. It should be on silent mode. In that case, your smartphone will not disturb you.
• You have to let your family members or people in the vicinity know that you should not be disturbed. When that is the case, nobody will come calling for you to discuss something with you.
• It is always good idea to start reading the morning. At that time, the distractions are much lower. You will be able to naturally avoid distractions without taking any special steps.
Once you follow these few tips while reading, the distractions will be less and therefore it will become easier for you to increase your reading speed.
3. Focus on phrases
When you focus on every word you are reading, it can become difficult to increase your reading speed. The easiest way to increase your reading speed is to focus on the phrases.
That will allow you to comprehend a set of words simultaneously rather than focusing on every word. Once you do so, covering the paragraphs and the pages will become easier and faster.
4. Instill the habit of reading
When you develop any habit, you are likely to complete that activity at a faster pace. It is true for exercise, as well as for reading.
The more you read, the faster you will be your speed. This will happen without affecting comprehension. The habit of reading is one of the easiest ways to increase your speed.
These are the 4 tips which you have to regularly follow if you’re serious about increasing your reading speed by comfortable amount.
Now, I will answer one of the most common questions which readers have.
Does speed reading actually work?
Truthfully told, if you attempt to read beyond 300 words per minute, doing so without losing cognitive comprehension is highly difficult. So, speed reading does not actually work.
Fast reading is undoubtedly bad for you. It reduces your comprehension as I have highlighted in my guide above. As long as you’re reading with the speed of 200 words to 300 words per minute, you can gain from reading without suffering from any disadvantage of fast reading.
With my guide above, you can easily attain that speed. It is now time to read at the highest possible efficiency using my guide above.