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I caught the tail end of an article on speed reading on the radio last week. The woman advocating it was summarising by saying she used the key words to get a movie running in her brain. Having missed the bulk of the article, I did a bit of online research to find out more. Naturally, I knew of speed reading, but had not given it much thought as I enjoyed the way I read. I found myself in a world of sub-vocalisation, multiple conflicting theories, and the need to train yourself in the techniques.

I am a fairly slow reader, so was interested to see if this could help me. In the end I came to the conclusion that it is basically quantity over quality. The immediate problem was loss of comprehension when learning to get speed. The various systems seem to regain comprehension after plenty of practise, and this movie comparison takes over, with the key words providing the movie script. This is where I have a problem, as a lot of the “minor” words are disregarded, as is sentence structure. For me, part of the pleasure of reading is enjoying the author’s skill in word choice, use of grammar and all the other literary skills that contribute to making a strong platform to hang the plot on. If you are seeing only the plot, and not the beautiful support structure, where is the pleasure in reading?

In the end I decided I would rather continue with my slower reading technique and enjoy a book to the full. For me it is definitely quality over quantity any time.

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