Is that $300 Burning A Hole In Your Pocket? Try Speed-Reading!

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Many of us fall victim to some sort of hoax at one point in our lives. Unfortunately, I was duped into taking a $300 dollar course to "triple" my reading speed. It was offered here on campus through a demonstration. They timed us lucky volunteers as we used two fingers to scroll through a two-page text, telling us beforehand that we were sure to at least double our speed in this simple trial. When it worked for me I was instantly sold.
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The class consisted of four, three-hour courses where we did drills similar to the demonstration. The idea was that once our eyes began to follow our fingers, we would begin to read in "chunks of words" and eventually our inner voice would diminish. After the third week of class they had us reading at 700-1000 wpm (words per minute). I was truly astonished at my speed...until I had to recall anything I had just read. We really were reading fast, however, we had not retained hardly any of the material we had just covered. As the book discusses, anything over 400 wpm is incomprehensible. So take from my misfortunes and proceed with caution when you sign up for your campus offered speed-reading course.

Watch a similar advertisement that sold me (here).

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Well at least you won't spend money on speed reading again? It seems that this Psychology course has taught us a lot if not just to be smarter consumers. As for the speed reading goes, I am an incredibly slow reader and am always shocked when people tell me they read a book series such as Harry Potter in one night. I was always skeptical, but now I have proof that it can't be done!

That makes me wonder how many other people have fallen for that. At least you realized that you weren't able to comprehend what you were reading, but I wonder if other people have fallen prey unknowingly.

I thought this was a good article. I have seen ads about reading faster since high school (there is a whole section part of the testing preparation section at book stores dedicated to speed reading) and I have always been intrigued by the programs. Knowing information from our text and from your blog has helped me know the truth behind these programs!

Do you really think that a person is not capable of reading over 400 wpm? I know the book discusses the idea that over 400 wpm is incomprehensible, but do you honestly think that is entirely true, that all humans have the exact same capacity to comprehend reading at a certain rate? Personally, I do think speed writing classes can work, but to what degree, I don't know; it just doesn't make the sense that everyone has the same limit to comprehending reading. Disregard preconceived notions next time you do a study and see how fast your reading actually improves.

This was a great article! I have seen a fair few of advertisements claiming people can read faster if they purchase this. Psychology is not only teaching us psychology but also how to be good consumers. This article reminds me about hidden psychological symbols in advertisements like the hidden arrow in the FedEx logo.

I like how you have had personal experience with this subject, and in the process of going through it realized it was sort of a scam. It makes me wonder though, why the University would offer such a class, especially with such strong evidence that they are not effective when it comes to retention rates.

Your personal experiences and story with the topic make this blog so interesting! I had never heard much about speed reading training before our psych class this semester. I think I would have fallen prey to the same myths as you did before I learned this. Thankfully I now know about this so I don't have to worry about being a victim.

Your post is very interesting! I had not really heard about speed reading before this class, and you blog gives good information and personal experiences on it. I can understand how we do not retain as much as soon as we read faster that 400 words per minute. That's a lot of information to process in not a lot of time!

Haha....not at your but at your entertaining post. It was a good, engaging read. I too fall victim to hoaxes, of many kinds but mostly to female products. To put a positive spin to it, I'm hopeful. :) I guess we need to consider what are exaggerated claims, and see of the product offers a money back guarantee. ;)

Very informative. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. On the plus side, you learned from your mistakes and will not fall victim to a scam of this sort ever again (hopefully). I can definitely relate to this misfortune by buying or investing in things that sound appealing at the time, but later on you wonder how you could have fallen for such a thing. Great blog!

I also went to the free demonstration at the beginning of fall semester. My friend asked me to go with her, but we did not pay to take the month-long course. I am sorry that you were scammed. I am glad that our psychology class covered this topic! It's so sad that people make money off of tricking other people like this.

Wow, the fast reading program might be quite attractive to me before learning how it really works. Since I am a slow learner, meaning that it takes huge amount of time to master something, especially when putting information in my head, I was desperate to employ a special program like you were sold, but I did not take action fortunately. If there is some technique scientifically proven, I am willing to buy it!

Really nice job of describing your own experiences with speed reading and the true problems of this. Sadly, demonstrations are very effective at selling products (science is not so effective at selling products...).

It seems like this class would have different affects on different people, depending on the reading speed at the start of the program. For a person who was already near a reading speed of 300 or 400 wpm, this class would push them past that level and cause them to read without comprehending. For a person who was actually a very slow reader would definitely have some benefits from a speed reading course; I don't think these classes would be a complete waste of money or a scam for all people.

Although I have never taken speed reading classes, I believe there are times when speed reading is actually useful. For example, I was in situations when I needed to read a lot of material in a short period of time. Speed reading helped me to read through material and find important information worth memorizing.

This was an excellent article. I really liked how you used personal advice as the basis for your blog. I think everyone who read your article should thank you. You saved us big bucks because I am sure a lot of people have been conned into thinking something was worth it when in reality it wasn't.

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This page contains a single entry by joh09183 published on March 20, 2012 3:40 PM.

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