Each year, hundreds of thousands of new book titles are printed and published online. Millions of pages of journal and magazine articles are written. Total information on our planet doubles every 9 months!
Yet, with this unstoppable torrent of information, people today read no faster than they did 100 years ago, when the information flow was a fraction of what it is today.
What does the future hold for business people and students who are trying to cope with this reality?
Most simply can’t keep their head above the surface of this information flow, and suffer educationally and financially because of it.
But what’s even more shocking is the fact that reading training of school students hasn’t changed much in the past 50 years. It basically stops at 3rd grade. And, worst of all, few schools offer any form of advanced reading training to prepare students for high-school, college and, later on, the fiercely competitive world of business.
The reality is that we’re essentially taught to read slowly. And because we read slowly, we’re effectively expected to reduce our workload to fit our skillset.
What else can we do? No one has yet been able to figure out how to create more time than we have available in a 24-hour period. So the approach is to quantify the amount of reading we need to do, or can do, with incompetency as a result.
If we look at the way schools teach reading today, their training is designed to allow us to read at approximately 240 words per minute, which is the reading rate we have as adults, entering college.
And that 240 wpm rate is what we achieve while reading light material!
Problem is, college is not about reading light materials like John Grisham novels. It’s about reading highly technical materials. We study to become doctors, lawyers, etc, and the difficulty of our study materials reflect that.
So what happens when we hit the books in the university library?
Why, off course, we slow down our reading even more to be able to understand what we read so we can remember the information and pass the exams. Most college students read technical materials at around 100 words per minute — less than half the 240-word-per-minute rate they achieve in the latest John Grisham novel.
So lets say the Grisham novel is 400 pages. With our skillset we can read that in about 12 hours. However when we move on to our highly technical college textbook, we need about 30 hours for the same number of pages.
The reality of college is actually worse still. Many students read their college textbooks at rates in the range of 50 to 75 words per minute, which spells disaster.
According to a 2016 report by Third Way, a Washington-based think tank, only 55 percent of students graduate within six years at the average private nonprofit college. Of the 1,027 private colleges studied, 761 have graduation rates of less than 67 percent!
This is directly related to the inability of students to keep up with their information load. It is fact, not guesswork. The cold hard truth staring us in the face.
So what is the best way to change failure to success for each person entering high-school and college? Simple. Have them learn speed reading.
Speed reading allows a person to improve their reading rate at 2 to 5 times while improving comprehension and recall. In addition, there are many reading strategies available that, when applied, can easily double a person’s study efficiency on top of their newly found reading rate.