People now spend an average of 6 hours a day reading at work - 6 years ago it was about 4. This is due largely to the proliferation of websites (increasing exponentially) and the increasing use of the web for work purposes e.g. research, decision-making, planning, justification. As a result, workers tend to produce longer documents to support argument or to "cover their tail". Email traffic has increased by over 84% in 2 years and is increasing. Many say that standards of writing have declined, there is greater verbosity. Both make reading more difficult and more time-consuming.

Reading Abilities

Most of us are taught to read at age 5, but are taught no more. Reading is taught in broadly the same way as it was 100 years ago. No other essential life skill is given so little attention yet is so widely, so much used, yet so poorly used. Continual use of the computer creates lower reading speeds due largely to tiredness and the difficulty of on-screen previewing. As a result, people concentrate less, retain less. Due to the pressure on workers to increase productivity, jobs have become more stressful. This is especially true in today's economic climate. More is available to be read. Files, documents remain on the desk, unread - all factors which create mind-wandering while reading.

Reading Performance

Average reading speeds are 240 words per minute but are declining, for some of the reasons above. They used to be closer to 280. Average comprehension levels are 60%. 40% is therefore lost on the reader. Average range of speeds is 30 words per minute.

Reading Improvement

The course in Fast Effective Reading increases average speeds by between 2 and 3 times. Comprehension increases on average by 20%. For some, it is more than this. The average range of speeds increases to over 200. Again, for some it can be greater than this. These results tend to be permanent. We know this from the follow-up/refresher sessions we conduct with previous delegates. In the end, however - as with all training - it is up to the individual.

Improved Productivity

Based on a pay rate of £100 per hour, 6 hours of reading per day = £600 cost. Halve this reading time by doubling reading speeds = £300 cost, £300 saved. Conversely, twice as much can be read in the same time. Add in effective previewing to create greater selectivity, reading time can be halved again. Therefore, what might have taken 6 hours at a cost of £600, could now only take 1.5 hours, at a cost saving of £450 per day. Add in the greater levels of comprehension and retention, the benefits are substantial. Some are more knowledgeable workers, better decisions made, shorter meetings. All reading is input. Workers' value and contribution is measured in output. Fast Effective Reading decreases input time to give more time for output, thereby increasing their personal productivity.

Return on Training Investment

Virtually no other form of training can have such a rapid return on investment. New reading skills and techniques can be put into immediate effect. Cost savings outlined above are immediate. The costs involved in training can be recouped in less than a day, depending on the wage cost level of the individuals concerned.

Author's Bio: 

David Aylwin is the Founder of Reading Transformations Ltd. For more information, please visit