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40oz

Speed Reading

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I found this website called spreeder.com where you can copy and paste a block of text into the field and it will generate a little slideshow thing where it flashes each individual word in rapid succession, which is supposed to train you to speed read. The website describes a common issue in most readers which is called "subvocalization" which is an inner voice that repeats the words out loud in our heads as we read them, which distracts us from actually interpretting and processing the text as fast as we could.

I'm curious about this because I watched an interview with Howard Berg, world record holding speedreader who can read upwards of 80,000 words a minute, where he told a story where he completed a graduate course in Educational Psychology in 7 hours with this skill. I thought that was pretty inspiring and wanted to try and develop this skill on my own. I've been using Spreeder for a few minutes every couple days to read some random stuff. In my experience I often miss a few words and I'm lucky if I actually retain any of the information I read. It's difficult to process all of it when the words are moving across so fast but I've noticed improvements so far. I do however, have trouble conciously silencing my subvovalization without the spreeder utility.

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Interesting website, although as someone who's never had subvocalization, I feel the process here is not completely accurate: when you read without an inner voice, you're not looking at every word. Your eyes fall on a group of six, seven, eight words, then move on to the next group. As you read a word your brain is already figuring out the next ones based on context and shape. With flashing words in succession you can guess context, but you lose shape.

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40oz said:

read upwards of 80,000 words a minute

Heh. I'm always amazed when scammers trigger the bullshit alarm straight from the start with ridiculous claims about their snake oil. I mean, there has to be at least a kernel of truth in a scam, otherwise people probably wouldn't get drawn in. Ponzi's firstcomers still made money before the pyramid collapsed, at least some people will themselves into health with homeopathy and reading a lot more by itself improves your vocabulary, reading comprehension and, in effect, speed. At least that's my skeptical take on this case.

But the head honcho has to be a messianic superguru able to perform outrageous feats of marvel, like that guy who doesn't need to eat or drink anymore. Would it draw lesser crowds if the claims were less shocking, bombastic and, uh, detached from reality? If the guy said he was doing 8k words per minute, it would still be inhumanly fast, but it wouldn't be so easy to throw away as bullshit instantly. At 80k words, I can only imagine Number 5 going through Stephanie's library in Short Circuit, heh. Is that some crazy reverse psychology where the apparent incredibility of the claim makes people suspend disbelief and throw money at the magic beans?

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Phml said:

Interesting website, although as someone who's never had subvocalization, I feel the process here is not completely accurate: when you read without an inner voice, you're not looking at every word. Your eyes fall on a group of six, seven, eight words, then move on to the next group. As you read a word your brain is already figuring out the next ones based on context and shape. With flashing words in succession you can guess context, but you lose shape.


That's how I felt at first, I thought there had to be a better way to embody quotes and punctuation. I think when I read I tend to see prepositional phrases and other common clauses as a single word at a time, so I tried fiddling around with the settings, make it display the same words per minute but showing three words at a time. It helped sometimes but it didn't fix it completely.

And yeah, it said 80,000WPM on the title of a youtube video, I should have better judgment than that. Putting 80,000 WPM or 1,000 WPM in spreeder gives the same result, where pretty much any denomination of words will flash across your screen in less than a second.

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my first job was trying to get people to subscribe to a very expensive program that supposedly did this. every day the supervisor would put us to do a series of exercises very similar to mantras to convince ourselves that our method worked (reinforcement exercises like this are very common when you work as a salesman specially a street one like i was). it took me nearly a year to snap out of it and realize we where scamming people (i then quit of course). of those who took the program, very few came out wwith improved reading speed and comprehension, and those that did overestimated themselves, they usually read only twice as fast as before and their comprehension was no better than average. what im trying to say is that it is possbile to have a limited speed reading ability, but nowhere near to the extent this people claim, they just think they can do it because they are in a circle of people that constantly reinforce what they already think is the case

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Its not the speed of reading, it's the quality. If I don't remember half of what I just read I have wasted my time for nonsense

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Waffenak said:

Its not the speed of reading, it's the quality. If I don't remember half of what I just read I have wasted my time for nonsense


The perverse thing about such scams, is that if you don't get the expected results, the scammer can always attribute it to your laziness, insufficient application, not following the method literally and/or incompetence, though he will try to say so VEEEEERY diplomatically ;-)

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