What is Speed Reading?

BookAccording to the dictionary, speed reading is the process of “reading rapidly by assimilating several phrases or sentences at once.”

Speed readers take in several parts of the text, several words, phrases, and sentences, at the same time instead of reading word by word.  They use their senses more efficiently than slow readers do, employing one or many speed reading techniques in a bid to read and comprehend as much of the text in the shortest time possible.


The sense of sight is of great importance to a reader. In order to read a word, the reader has to first see it. While beginners are capable of seeing only one word or part of a word at a time, experienced readers can see many words at a time.

The eyes of speed readers move rapidly across words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. They just glance at the words and move rapidly towards the end of a page. However, even speed readers have to slow down if they come across an unfamiliar word or concept.


Speed readers are silent readers. Beginners read aloud, sounding each word carefully, but as they gain experience, they stop reading loudly and start reading in their minds. Reading a text aloud drastically reduces reading speed. Reading in silence increases reading speed.

When you read silently, you can still “hear” the words in the confines of your skull. To read faster, you have to silence this “inner voice” as much as you can. In case of speed readers, the “inner voice” is so soft that they can hardly hear it. Most speed readers feel that there is absolutely no “inner voice,” there is only silence.

In case of speed readers, the “inner voice” not only speaks softly, but also faster, enabling them to cover huge chunks of the text in a jiffy.


Speed reading requires intense concentration. Speed readers have to force themselves to concentrate because they are multitasking. They are not only seeing and reading the text faster, but also absorbing the salient points and noting how they are presented.

Speed readers not only read, but also absorb. Working silently and swiftly, they separate the wheat from the chaff, the most important points from the least important points, and the facts from the opinions. Speed reading is NOT reading through the text at the same speed. It is understanding exactly what parts of the text can be skimmed, what parts can be speed read, what parts can be skipped, and what parts need to be read slowly to facilitate better comprehension.


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