The reading avalanche
Many students and professionals feel overwhelmed with the constant growth of material that they have to read. For example, high school or university students often have to do written works for their different subjects. They often need to consult a plethora of books, magazine articles and different publications. After consulting all that material they have to pick out the ideas and contents that are relevant to carry out the work. The possibility of reading rapidly helps them to do that.
Another example could be of a director of a small company that has to read on daily basis all of the incoming and outgoing mail in order to be well informed and make timely decisions.
It is said that Rockefeller never threw away an offer without reading it first. For this, it is necessary to have some positive reading habits. In Spain, more than 43,000 books are published each year. To these one must add those already published and those published abroad in order to have a clear idea of the constantly growing bibliography that is available. We also must consider the 100,000 articles published in specialized magazines, newspapers, the millions of advertisements, correspondence and daily legislation. Even though we know how to read all of these, the volume of material is so big that it can be overwhelming for a lot of people.
Some professionals that need to read a lot on a daily basis tend to come up with their own reading method and achieve higher results than others. However, most readers have reading skills that are not that satisfactory. They learned to read in school, but have not acquired positive reading habits or get rid of reading defects.
Not all readings have to be done at the same speed. A scientific piece is not the same as a philosophical novel, neither is a textbook the same as leisure reading. Each type of reading has a specific technique. It is always positive to read at fast speeds, if the material can allow it.
In speed reading courses, the reading speed is doubled while comprehension is slightly increased. However, effort is needed to achieve these results, especially if there are physiological impediments and psychological difficulties to overcome. The time that is gained thanks to speed reading can be used to read more or to think instead.
Arturo Ramo García
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