It is a fact that finding the best speed reading software is a complex task. To ensure you really
get the best one you would need to throw in some time and effort which is not easy for some
to do because of hectic schedules and other personal and professional priorities. We all just
have to move with our fast-paced environment.
This is why we have put together 10 free lessons on speed reading to help you have an easy
and fast access to the techniques needed to learn the skill. At the same time, details about how
to choose the best speed reading software is also made available on this course with a
recommendation write up for your perusal. All of these at no cost at all for you because we
simply aim to help you in your route to building your speed reading skills.
Why Learn Speed Reading?
You may probably wonder what speed reading is for when you already know how to read. Why
complicate things by increasing your reading rate and risk losing understanding the material
Like any other skills, speed reading needs an investment of time and practice to learn. Training
your eyes, hands and mind will require effort but like any other skill it will benefit you and for
the most part, professionally.
An average person reads 200 to 300 words per minute. This is just enough if reading is just for
recreation purposes of a person but if he needs to cover a lot of materials such as students,
lawyers, trainers, employees in training, doctors and other professionals or businessmen then
this rate will not be sufficient. It is very probable that he will lag behind on his reading and
training so his knowledge and skills will be compromised. He will need to invest much more
time to cover all the reading material to be competent on his field. This will not be an easy task.
If you are facing this scenario then speed reading will be able to provide you some ease with
regards to meeting your goals. It will give you an advantage because you will be able to gather
more information in a short span of time. You will be able to move along with others in your
field and may even have more edge than them since you have the capacity to absorb more
information from reading materials in a few minutes.
Speed reading not only aims to build up the reading rate of a person but also retain good
comprehension. This is its primary goal. Being able to read fast will lose its essence if one would
not be able to remember and more so, understand what he just read.
Speed reading also contributes to time freedom to whoever builds this skill. Time flexibility will
be much more available because of the confidence that he or she can cover many materials in a
short period and so has the option to spend his other time on other things which need his
attention such as family, friends, relationships, or even other past times.
When one has more flexibility with regards to his schedule, then he feels more relaxed and
stress-free. A more positive attitude is fashioned and learning is not considered a burden
But the best benefit that speed reading can contribute to one's person is having the
opportunity to learn a lot of things. Knowledge will arm him and he will be confident to take on
any tasks. This will open more chances for job employment, promotion, and business ventures.
Career advancement will not look so far off.
Investing in speed reading is not a waste of anything. The few hours you will put to learn the
methods and train your body and mind will contribute much to your development as a person
and as a professional. In one way or another, your loved ones will be benefited too.
Preparation before Training
Before starting any kind of training, you need to prepare yourself. The same goes for speed
reading. There are habits you need to check on and elements you need to know to see if you
are ready to learn the methods to have speed reading skills. When you know yourself and have
gauged your ability to learn then you will be more motivated to develop the skills.
Eyes. Check your vision first. If you have any vision problems, make sure to have an eye
check up with the doctor so you can make corrective measures like using contact lenses,
glasses, eye lubricants, or doing eye exercises.
Reading rate. Gauge your current reading rate. You can get your average reading rate by
timing your reading of a paragraph or several sentences in a minute. Online speed
reading tests like spreeder.com2
can also help you measure how many words per
minute you can read along with how much you can understand. Click here for another
recommended online speed reading test that you may use. Don't try to hasten reading
in getting your reading rate but just do it at your normal pace to really gauge it correctly.
Do it 2 to 3 x to get your average correctly.
Distractions. Find a suitable place to learn and practice speed reading. The lesser the
distractions, the better. If you have no suitable place, try to see if you can play baroque
music while learning and practicing you skills because baroque music have been proven
to help in concentration. Yes, you will need to keep distractions at bay to be able to
focus fully on speed reading. Since you will be increasing your reading speed, your
comprehension will not follow immediately. It's possible for you to not fully understand
right away what you have read so having a distraction-free environment is needed. The
more you can focus, the more you will be able to comprehend well. Distraction is not
only about the place where you will study but your personal stuff like mobile phones,
iPod, and other gadgets, even the television. Have them turned off when you are
studying speed reading.
Habits. As you are gauging your reading rate, also observe yourself on how you read. Do
you pronounce each word? Do you read everything all through out? How many words
can you see when you focus your eyes on one word on the page? Do you reread some
words or sentences for understanding? These questions point out the bad reading
habits almost all of us have formed since we learned how to read from pre-school.
Subvocalization, rereading or regression, reading everything, and limited eye span. If
you are doing of these things then STOP doing them. All these slow down your reading
pace. Start to train your lips not to move when you are reading, just have your eye read
the words silently. Don't reread a word or sentence when you have not understood
what it meant. Training for comprehension will come soon with your speed reading
Relax your gaze when reading, if you can only see 4 to 5 words at a time, this is alright at
this time but just train your gaze to relax when reading so your eye span or how much
you can see in one gaze, will soon expand. And lastly, start learning not to read
everything. Practice skimming or reading keywords in a material like the titles, headings,
bold, italicized and underlined words, and bulleted words. Your aim is to get the main
idea being conveyed on a paragraph or page.
Widen Your Eye Span and Chunk
When you focus on a word in a sentence, you will notice that you can still see the other words
beside it and those at its top and bottom. An average person can normally see one to three
inches on the sides of the eyes when the gaze is focused. Often this is 3 to 4 words at a time.
This is the eye span. Some people have larger eye spans but most people can still develop this.
To know your own eye span, get a reading material and focus your gaze on the middle of the
page. Have a pen and ruler ready too. Once you have focused your gaze then mark the areas of
the page that you can still see clearly using your ruler and pen. This is your eye span.
In developing your eye span for faster reading, be careful not to force your eyes to see a lot
when it cannot do it yet. Work with what it can do for the moment. Straining your eyes will just
not do you any good and will not help you in speed reading. You need good eyesight to be a
good speed reader.
To develop your eye span, gaze at the second or third word in the first sentence of your reading
material. This is your first fixation or the stop of your eyes. Then blink and move your focus on
word now in the sentence. Every time you blink, change your focus. Do it with a
slow pace first going faster as your eyes get trained in seeing all the words around the gaze, left
and right, top and bottom. Just always remember to have a soft and relaxed gaze when
widening your eye span.
Once you have a good grasp of how many words you can clearly see then it's time to integrate
comprehension to this. This is the method called "chunking". The key to chunking is reading and
remembering the words you see in your eye span. You need to remember the words you read
to understand the meaning of the whole text when you read on your next fixation.
Being familiar with idiomatic expressions and having a wide vocabulary will benefit you in this
method. If you still don't know much idioms I suggest you gather their meanings now and
enrich your vocabulary too. The internet is a good source for this research of idiomatic
expressions. You may incorporate building your vocabulary while learning speed reading but
this may slow you down a bit. Yet it's still beneficial. If there are words you're not familiar with,
then do look them up in the dictionary or thesaurus. The importance of this is for you to be able
to shorten how you read long chunks of words. For example, your fixation is on a set that reads
"stand head and shoulders above," you may just read this as "the best" since that is the
meaning of this idiomatic expression.
Advanced chunking entails reading diagonally. In this method, you read the first words on the
first sentence then move onto the last words of the second sentence and so on. Pretty much,
you will just be reading phrases and connecting the meanings of each one to get the idea the
author is conveying in the material. So you would need to remember what you read on the
previous sentences. Practice this with number sets first until you get the hang of remembering
chunks of information. Practice with the numbers 321564578 for example. Chunk it as 321-564-
578. Then memorize. Practice with other sets of 9 to 10 digit numbers. Then move on to
Pacing methods or metaguiding is the technique of using a guide for speed reading. It has been
accidentally discovered by Evelyn Wood, "the Pioneer of Speed Reading" that the eyes are able
to focus more when it follows the gesture of the hands when she removed off dirt on a page of
a book as she picked it up from the floor when it accidentally fell. This marked the beginning of
the development of the pacing methods. When we think about, using our fingers as a pointer
has been taught to us when we first started learning to read. As we grow older, the use of the
hands was just avoided for silent reading purposes. These steps are ideal for beginners in speed
reading because it contributes to their concentration on the task. The hands, a pointer or paper
may be utilized for this.
This is the most basic of the pacing methods and all you need to do is to point your index finger
or pen or put your paper underneath the word you will be reading. Move it along the sentences
as you read. Speed up as you move. Your finger determines your speed. If you will be reading
on your computer then use the cursor and your mouse as your pointer. Change your speed
when you need to understand what you are reading but don't go back to the previous words or
sentences if you don't. Just move along and move faster. Practice this method for about a week
to build it as a habit.
For this method, cup your hands wherein the fingers will be aligned and bounce your hand from
fixation to fixation or sets of words on the line. Do this slowly at first and as your
comprehension improves in reading "chunks" of words as you hop your hands then increase
This has the same movement as the sweep but this time instead of putting the card or paper
under the word, you will cover the words you have already read. This method helps eliminate
rereading or regression so you will just be focused on reading and moving forward.
Also commonly known as the zigzag or the loop method, the serpentine style is a more
advanced pacing method. It is somehow similar to skimming because you will need to look for
keywords to understand the idea of the sentences. With fingers aligned like in the hop method,
move your hand in a zigzag line across the paragraph capturing several words from the
beginning of the first sentence then several words from the end of the next sentence with
special care to read keywords. This is also ideal for easy material.
This website can help you practice the hop method online.
The pacing method entails you to combine it with the first methods for speed reading which is
developing your eye span and chunking for better and faster comprehension.
The Method of SQRRR
SQRRR is also known as SQ3R. This is the acronym for the reading method Survey, Question,
Read, Recall and Review. This method was developed in the late 1950's for college students. Its
purpose was to help them read faster and comprehend quicker considering the amount of
reading materials college students need to cover to pass their university courses. This aim of
is similar to what speed reading is all about so this is a good method which has been
adapted in speed reading techniques. This method most especially helps in the enhancement of
concentration and the memory so it contributes much to the comprehension of the reader.
This first step in this method requires skimming the material or looking it over for target words
like titles, sub titles, headings, sub headings, words in bold, italics and underlined words, words
quoted by the author and the first and last sentences in each paragraph. Photo descriptions are
also worth consideration since these give insight to the main idea of the material.
Questioning can be done simultaneously with surveying. This method requires that you
formulate a question from the words you've skimmed on the material. To make things faster,
you can make a question immediately from the title instead of going back to the material after
surveying. Making up a question is not that hard but will entail some practicing so you can
eventually get used to it. For example, the title of the article you will read is "The Art of
Questioning," your question can be "What is the Art of Questioning?" Looks pretty easy right?
The idea is to make a question which will give you focus on the article, so your aim is to find the
answer to the question you made up. You may write down your questions to serve as your
Since you need the answers to your questions, you need to read the material now. Based on
your question, find the answer to it. This will speed up your reading since you already have a
direction which is to find the answer to the questions. When you find the answers, you may
write them down too but ensure to write them in your own words but not too long, write just
enough words for you to remember the key idea of the answer. This is to train your memory
Recall in SQRRR is not just remembering, it is saying the answer aloud to better imprint it in
your mind. This is recitation which has been proven in university studies that students
remember better when they say their answers but again, this should be in your own words.
Even if you already wrote some notes, say your answers to your questions aloud in your own
words. That's why the idea of note taking is just to jot down some words and not the whole
answer to the questions.
Reviewing is going back to all your notes from the questions to the notes for the answers and
recalling how much you remember about the material as a whole and how fast were you able
to recall all the information.
As you practice doing the SQRRR Method, you're also training your mind to concentrate and
remember in a fast manner.
Comprehension Building Methods
Maintaining comprehension level or even increasing it while reading fast is another aim of
speed reading. It would not do anyone any good if they can read fast yet they cannot
understand what they have read. This will be useless. Maintaining and developing
comprehension in speed reading is another training of the eyes and mind. The eyes are trained
to look out for words to help understand the reading material while the brain is trained to
apprehend the words and ideas fast. This would need practice and patience again.
There are 2 speed reading techniques which have been used by both beginners and advanced
speed readers to develop and retain their comprehension skills. These are scanning and mind
mapping. These two methods in a way are incorporated in one another to give the mind a quick
idea on the message of the author on the material being read. You do have the option to
practice doing only one or you can also train to do both.
Scanning can be done simultaneously with the pacing methods. Using a guide to scan the page
will make your reading speed much faster. The main point in scanning is to look for the main
idea in the material and its supporting information. In scanning, you need to let go of the habit
of reading everything and should be fast to determine what words are relevant to your
understanding of the text and which ones are irrelevant or just extended explanations of the
The primary words you need to look out for in scanning a page or the whole material are:
Table of Contents
Reviews and descriptions of the article or book if it is provided
Bold, italicized and/or underlined words.
First and last sentence in a paragraph
All these will help you get the facts and main idea the author is conveying to the reader. This
method is ideal for use in non-fiction material.
Mind-mapping is a method of combining words, pictures and other visual aids to understand
and remember a meaning or message of an article, book or any other presentation such as a
webinar or workshop. Mind maps help develop understanding and recall skills. It has been in
use since the 1950s and has been popularized by Tony Buzan.
It is a method adopted in speed reading because it helps the reader associate the visual aids
with the idea related by the article or book.
You can create a mind map using the old pen and paper but if you prefer MS Word or Pages,
those are sufficient tools too. Read the title of the article first then write it down on your paper.
Draw a square or circle around it. Then without looking at your paper, say the title out loud.
This will reinforce your memory. Then continue reading the first paragraph taking note of the
heading and other keywords such as in scanning. You may apply other speed reading methods
in this part such as the pacing methods and chunking. Go back to your paper and write the
headings beside or around the title, enclose it in a square or circle again and beneath the
heading, write phrases or sentences in your own words to gauge your understanding of what
you have read and say it aloud after writing without looking at your paper. Continue the same
steps with the rest of the article. When you have finished the whole material, go back to your
mind map and review it. After reviewing, try to recall the whole mind from the title until the
last entry you have made.
Keys for Practice in Speed Reading
The key to developing your skills and comprehension in speed reading is to practice the
methods. The first thing you need to remember in practicing is to set a specific number of
minutes or better, hours for your practice schedule. Then stick to this routine.
You can practice your speed reading with the use of a regular article on paper or with the pages
of a book or with the help of resources from the internet and your computer such as news and
The next thing you may focus on is the skill of scanning. Practice scanning a material for 60 to
120 seconds in each of your practice schedules. Make this longer for longer materials if you
prefer to practice with a book for example. As you move on and make progress, decrease the
scanning practice to 30 to 60 seconds then lesser and lesser.
Another key to get better in speed reading is to practice the focus and fixation of your eyes.
Eye exercises online specifically to develop the eyes' speed for reading purposes2
available. Do these exercises before starting on practicing the speed reading methods or even
after to be able to relax the eyes too. There are also more eye exercises online which can help
relax eye muscles and reduce eye strain1. These also add to the endurance of your eyes3
don't get drowsy easily when moving your eyes fast.
In practicing your speed reading skills, have a link for a speed reading test handy, bookmark it
on your browser. Having access to a speed reading test will allow you to constantly measure
your progress on your skills. If this is not possible for you, then just have a timer handy and test
yourself after each practice session. Remember, practice the skills then put your skills to a test.
Another helpful key for speed reading is the use of software for practice. You can convert PDF
or Word documents to 2 to 5 word columns so the division will serve as a guide for your eye
fixation. Currently there are downloadable PDF's designed for speed reading practice. Click here
for a free download. Or you can copy paste your own material on this site and the application
will convert the document to your preference. However, if you still prefer printed material over
software then just draw a line to divide the sentences into 2 to 5 words, depending on the
speed you want to go practice first. Remember that it's alright to go slow at your first practice
Software specifically designed to help you learn how to speed read are available too and can
easily be purchased online mostly at reasonable prices. These provide guidelines, lessons and a
lot of practice materials along with progress charts and real-time tracker of improvement for
both the reading pace and comprehension. Flashing words are among the oldest exercises used
in speed reading software. The good thing in choosing speed reading software for learning and
practicing is that it provides many exercises for each type of speed reading method. So you will
be able to train on all of the methods. The only challenge with software is its specifications so
you should check first if it is compatible with your computer's specs before making any
Software is Recommended for Speed Reading
The first time that the first idea of speed reading was conceptualized, a machine was used to
help in learning the initial methods. The United States Air Force used the Tachistoscope which
would flash images on a screen and its speed would increase as it progresses. This was
developed by researchers to help pilots identify approaching aircraft, to distinguish between
ally and enemy. This just aimed to improve the vision of the pilots but the researchers soon
found out it helped increase the reading speed of the participants.
In the 1940s it became a trend to use machines to increase reading speed. The Harvard
Business School even formulated a speed reading program which still focused on using visual
images just like the tachistoscope1
. With this development we can see that the use of machines
with programs in them, or software was already a recognized way for learning how to speed
It is really up to you how you prefer to study for developing your speed reading skills. You can
stick to free courses like this one; use your own reading materials; follow the reminders for
practicing the methods just like in the previous lesson and; time your reading by yourself. Or
you may find a free download or purchase speed reading software which can provide you with
all the works such as practice exercise materials, speed reading level tests and progress trackers
for both the reading rate and comprehension. There is even some software which has separate
lessons for the methods and comprehension building respectively.
Many speed reading software also incorporate video tutorials wherein the teachers discuss the
lessons to you making it a personalized tutorial in a way. When such feature is available, you
may use your headphones and be able to block out distracting noise. This will help you focus
more on the lesson and the exercises. Another feature commonly found in speed reading
software are lessons for eye health and care and exercises for eye span development. These
have helpful tips you can do for your eyes to make it focus more easily as well as have more
Some speed reading software are also available in varying languages such as Spanish, French,
Japanese and German so it can be learned by anybody interested in developing the skills. When
the speed reading software has this feature then translator software is not needed anymore
and the software can be used by itself. Since the primary competition of a reader learning how
to speed read is time then using a software for learning and practicing the skills is practical
because in essence, a software helps save time for the learner. If you choose a software, you
won't need to find your own materials and exercises anymore or even speed reading
applications which can help you apply the methods. With just one click, the lessons, discussions
and exercises are all there plus your progress is being tracked as you go. With this convenience,
you can easily set a schedule too such as only doing 1 lesson or 1 exercise for the day.
In using a speed reading software, it's just a matter of choosing which one is the best fit for
your needs, preferences and budget too. Options are enumerated in speed reading software
reviews like this so do look them up.
Which is the Best Speed Reading Software?
This is a question very frequently asked when people contemplate on which software to choose
and buy for learning speed reading. After all, it doesn't matter if it's cheap or expensive it's still
hard-earned money that one will shell out for personal development and of course, if it's going
to be an investment for oneself, who would not want the best?
Yes, this is a question which is difficult to answer because even with just one Google search
several brands of speed reading software come up. But let's look at some points of views
regarding a popular speed reading software – 7 Speed Reading, why, because this speed
reading software has been awarded a 5 star rating not just by one but by 7 rating sites one of
which is BrotherSoft. This software has also been reviewed by Serenson Pty Ltd by means of
actually downloading and using the software and not just based on other review sites or
opinions. It gave 7 Speed Reading an excellent rating based on its criteria for evaluating speed
reading software. Their guidelines include assessment of the software's effectiveness, usability,
approach, reliability, cost, customer support, and trial availability or guarantee. Serenson Pty
Ltd is an Australian Company independent from the manufacturer of 7 Speed Reading which is
eReflect Software. Serenson Pty Ltd authors the site Write Better English which provides help
for those who want to improve their English writing skills. Based on these reports, it is but safe
to say that 7 Speed Reading is one of the best speed reading software out in the market today.
It should be because it took 4 years in the making before it was released. According to
spreeder.com, eReflect, made thorough testing on this software before being launched wherein
the increase in reading speed by test participants was 163% with lesser effort in learning by the
All the reviews and ratings cite 7 Speed Reading as user-friendly because of its compatibility
with Windows 7, XP and Vista, a middle-of-the-range pricing with a 12 month no questions
asked money-back guarantee, applicable for use from Grades 3 to Adult and, unlimited email
and phone support.
Speed reading coach, Rick Hunter, is the guide in all the video tutorials in 7 Speed Reading. He
provides the theories and explanations about the methods as well as instructions on how to go
about the lessons or exercises in the software.
7 Speed Reading includes 15 comprehensive training topics and exercises backed up with tests
and games for a deeper development of the skills. It has 2 main sections, the Step-by-Step and
Power Access which approach speed reading training in two different angles. Considering the
load of information put into this software, it is truly a highly advanced speed reading system.
Some reviews still cite that there is still room for improvement4
for this software but overall
most users vouch for the effectiveness of the teaching approach in 7 Speed Reading for
increasing reading speeds.
A Deeper Look at 7 Speed Reading
We all want to get ahead, in life and in our professions so to support this need we recommend
the use of 7 Speed Reading more than anything else. Aside from going through the free lessons
in this course, reinforce and continue your training with the use of this software. Not only will
the lessons you've gone through in this free course be given more in depth explanation and
emphasis but you will have an opportunity to train deeper for your speed reading skills with a
software that has brought together all the speed reading techniques into one professional
Here are more reasons1
why we recommend you look into 7 Speed Reading:
This software consists of 15 training exercises to help you inhibit your poor reading
habits. These help eliminate subvocalization, regression or rereading, and help develop
your eye span. New reading habits are formed while eliminating the bad ones.
It consists of modules with video tutorials. As mentioned in the previous lesson, Rick
Hunter is your private tutor in all these videos. He will guide you through the lessons
with verbal instructions for the exercises.
The main reason why this software is named 7 Speed Reading because it utilizes 7
learning strategies for speed reading. Commonly other software only brings 1-2
It comes with Wiki-Connect which is not present in other software. This feature will
allow you to choose and get articles from wiki sites for use in your speed reading
practice exercises. This way you get a material of interest to you at the same time be
able to train for speed reading.
7 Speed Reading also incorporated eye and body health tips and explanations to help
you take care of your eyes such as how to keep eyes fresh especially when these are
tired, how to avoid eye fatigue especially when you read on the computer, and eye
exercises to avoid eye strain. After all, our eyes are our main tools for speed reading so
it is just logical for us to take care of them. This is acknowledged in 7 Speed Reading.
7 Speed reading is so user-friendly that it can accommodate countless numbers of users.
And even if several profiles are set up and saved in it, it can still track the progress of
each one real-time with its highly advanced progress tracker which records all user
activities when they log in.
Comprehension is not neglected in any of the speed reading exercises provided in 7
Speed Reading. It is incorporated in all activities so that the reading rate is improved
along with understanding.
The guarantee it offers is longer than most product trial offers. It's for 12 months with a
100% money-back guarantee if it does not hold true to its promotional ad of enabling
anyone to speed read with just 7 minutes of practice or learning per day in just two
7 Speed Reading is a software developed with the needs for growth of its customers in mind. It
provides training for speed reading skills with great depth while maintaining a fun approach in
the activities. This is a software which can really benefit you both as a beginner and an
advanced learner in speed reading.
Eye Exercises and Vision Training
This is an article providing comprehensive information on how eye exercises benefit our eyes
with the possibility of improving vision naturally.
Spreeder is a free application which provides a speed reading test to gauge reading rate.
Evelyn Wood (teacher)
This is a Wikipedia article providing a short biography of Evelyn Wood.
SuperReading Hopify Program
This is another free online application wherein you can practice the hop pacing method.
Speed Reading Self-pacing Methods
This is a page from the Glendale Community College site authored by Dennis Doyle which
provides information about the pacing methods for speed reading.
This is a Wikipedia article about the SQ3R Method.
Reading Strategies: SQ3R Method
This is an About.com guide article on the SQ3R Method.
Skimming and scanning
This shows one of the pages in the book Reading and Study Skills Lab provided by Anne Arundel
This is a Wikipedia page about Tony Buzan and his works.
This is another Wikipedia article defining and describing a mind map.
Eye Exercises for Speed Reading
This is a page providing simple eye exercises to help strengthen and relax the eyes.
Eye Can Learn
This is a website providing different eye exercises for training the eyes on different focus needs
like peripheral and relaxed viewing.
SuperReading Eye Hop
This is a page with free downloadable PDF documents specifically designed for speed reading
The History of Speed Reading
This is an article discussing how speed reading started and its developments through the years.
Speed Reading Software: A Guide
These are the guidelines followed by Serenson Pty Ltd in their website Write Better English for
reviewing speed reading software.
Learn Speed Reading: 7 Speed Reading Review
This is an unbiased review done by Denise Sutherland, a writer who has authored 8 puzzle
7 Speed Reading
This is the official site of the 7 Speed Reading Software.
This free course is created and published eReflect software.