Written by: Jonathan Gaspar, COVT
If you’re like most people, myself included, you probably think you are a pretty proficient reader. You’ve never had any issues with reading and you’re happy with your reading speed. As you’re reading this to yourself your inner voice is saying each and every word as your eyes glide across the screen. Turns out mentally saying each word, otherwise known as sub-vocalization, can slow your reading rate by quite a bit.
The average adult can read upwards of 250+ words per minute when silent reading, if they aren’t sub-vocalizing. Sub-vocalizing can slow a person down to about 150 WPM, if not slower. This is because sub-vocalizing is effectively the same as reading out loud and the average person isn’t an auctioneer.
Turning off that inner voice is not a simple task, its been with you as long as you can remember. There are ways to train yourself, however, to slowly overcome it. For instance, one could try focusing on three words at a time and breaking each line down into chunks. This does two things, expands the amount of information you are taking in at once and stops you from focusing, over saying, each individual word. Small distractions like chewing gum will take some of the focus away from analyzing each individual word. Music without lyrics and strong beats can also be conducive to this type of training.
Don’t get me wrong, sub-vocalization definitely has its merits. It can help you memorize things while studying or help you learn new difficult concepts. But if becoming the world’s fastest reader is your goal, its best to turn it off.
To learn more about improving your reading efficiency, call and schedule your complimentary consult at one of our locations.