Speed Reading Mini Course Module 1

Dr. Paul shares his background with speed-reading. He started at a baseline of 300 words per minute with a 60% comprehension rate and ended up being able to read 3,000 words per minute with a 60% comprehension rate.

The reason this kind of a shift is possible is all due to paradigm.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

The goal of speed-reading is NOT to learn how to read faster, it is to learn how to read differently.

In order to practice a new way of reading, you need to access different neural pathways and this will initially feel uncomfortable.

We don’t read letters, we don’t even necessarily read words. Our brains are simply trained to see and interpret things in a certain way. Trust your brain! It can make up the difference and “patch” various holes in your understanding.

PARADIGM represents the way you see things. If you compare it to glasses, it’s the lens through which you see everything. Dr. Paul gives the example of an experiment conducted by George Stratton who developed a pair of glasses that turned everything upside down. After eight days of wearing the glasses, things stopped appearing upside down. A team of researchers in Germany replicated the study and found that everyone who participated in the study had the same experience of their brains eventually correcting their vision for them.

Dr. Paul shares the story of Aron Ralston to represent the concept of making a “decision.” Aron cut off his arm in order to live his life. In order to learn to speed read you will have to make decisions to “cut” some things off that you don’t think you can. You will have to let go of a lot of the things you have been trained, taught, and educated to do.

There are three barriers to fluent reading:
1. Subvocalization or sounding out the words in your mind. In order to speed read, you have to let go of the link between subvocalization and comprehension. You have to let go of the idea that you have to sound out or “hear” a word in your head in order to understand it (this is often the hardest part of speed reading.)
2. Fixation or when your eyes stop or lock in on a certain word.
3. Regression or when you go back and re-loop on certain material.

The number one reason your mind wanders while reading is that your brain got bored because you were going too slow or you were fixating and regressing too much. Your mind is going much faster than you are able to subvocalize words.