How Ben Franklin Invented Speed Reading
And How it Can Improve Your Productivity

There are six secret strategies to reading and remembering three (3)
books in the time others can hardly finish one. In the 300 million
U.S. population, only 20% are interested in personal growth, if you
are one of them – we have a gift for you in the next 1,000 words.

Making One Change at a Time

Day 1:To help double your learning speed, never read a book, article or report
flat on your desk. Hold it upward at a 30% angle to your eyes. Teach
your kids never to read with the book flat on the table – it is the first step
to being a Speed Reading, instead of a Snailer.

Why? Reading from a book flat on your desk is painful to your retina and
causes eye-fatigue and after 60 minutes leads to Dry Eye. Notice that your
computer screen is at a vertical angle and often can be adjusted. Play with
the screen and notice some angles are more visually comfortable than others.

Day 2: When reading a book, article or report or from your computer, permit your
head to gently move from left-to-right across the sentences, and down the

Did you know 99% of readers, (kids, teachers and adults) read one word
at a time, and hear each word in their mind’s ear?

So what? If you are in the great majority and read this way, you can never
read faster than you can speak, about 200 words per minute. It is slow as
molasses and makes learning boring and time consuming.

You are fully capable of reading two-three books in the it takes you now to
finish just one. The reason you presently cannot is called Subvocalization,
hearing one-word-at-a-time. Moving your head across the sentences speeds
up your reading. Google: vestibulo-ocular-reflex (Vos)

Sure, it was the way Ms Harrison taught you beginning in first-grade, but it
makes you a reading cripple, and wastes up to two hours daily. Starting
today move your eyes across the sentence and let the natural motion of
your head move left-to-right. Ph.Ds call it moving Sinistro-Dextral (left-to-

Day 3: Whenever you intend to read text or professional material, always have a
pen in your hand to underline the words of each sentence. The pen is your
Pacer and forces your eyes and brain to speed up. We call it playing catch-
up because your hand moves 2x faster than your unaided eye.
Remember, do not permit the pen point to (ink) touch the page; underline
about ½ inch above the words on the page. In ten minutes of practice your
Pacing with the pen becomes smooth and comfortable. Your learning speed
will double and then triple compared to your non-underlining reading.

Why should I read with a pen, I never did that before?

Underlining causes your attention to focus on the page instead of
wandering. Educators call it Specific Guidance and speed read using
your pen – Random Spacing. You avoid Regressing (losing your place) up
to 6 times per page, and therefore 2-3x your learning speed.

Day 4: Whenever you read text or professionally material, mentally divide each
sentence into three separate phrases. Researchers call it Chunking, making
little piles.

Why bother? When you see a phrase of about three (3) words at a time, it is
way easier to read and comprehend compared to the width of the average
sentence of 12 words wide.

Ever notice a page on the Internet and how hard it is to read when it is the
width of the monitor screen? Chunking makes it easier for your retina to
offer you sharp, clear words to read.

Day 5: If you know as we do, that you have hidden gifts and talents you have never
developed, using Command Affirmations before you start to read can
release your personal genius.

How do you know you cannot play the guitar if you never tried?

Why bother with this stuff? When you announce your intention either
aloud or mentally (silently) repetitiously, you program your subconscious
mind to deliver your desired outcomes.

Repeating these mental orders become the software for your mental
hardware to fulfill. It also unites your left and right brains for a
joint effort. Do it daily for 21 consecutive days and it becomes a habit.

“Every day in every way I’m speed learning better-and-better.”

Every day in every way I’m speed learning better-and-better.”

Every day in every way I’m speed learning better-and-better.”

Every day in every way I’m speed learning better-and-better.”

Day 6: Whenever you have to read text or professional material, first
exercise your eyes for the coming marathon. It only requires 60
seconds and has a flood of benefits.

Why bother? It sharpens your vision and activates your peripheral
sight to speed up your learning speed. This daily one-minute exercise
may help you avoid eye-muscle fatigue, and some ophthalmologists
believe it fights detached-retina, macular degeneration, glaucoma and
cataracts. It is baby-easy and short-and-sweet.

a) It can be done standing or sitting. Start by focusing on a blank wall.
b) Do not permit your head to move left-to-right in this exercise, it is
exclusively for your eyes.
c) Using your dominant index finger, trace an Infinity symbol in the air
in front of you. It is really a sleeping (reclining) number 8 and is about
18 inches wide in-line with your eyes. Try it, it is easy as pie.
d) Now drop your hand after you get the hang of it – and use your eyes
alone to produce an 18 inch wide sleeping number 8s. Keep your head still, just your eyes move left-to-right slowly.
e) Continue making the Infinity sign for a half-dozen times – s-l-o-w-l-y.

Why bother? You are exercising your six ocular muscles in each eye, and
they are not ordinarily used 90% of your waking hours. Eye Fatigue
and Dry-Eye are often caused by the disuse of your eye-muscles.

Exercising one-minute daily for 21 days consecutively improves the clarity
of your peripheral vision and makes you feel mentally active. You are
crossing both left and right hemispheres and helping both brains to work

What about Ben Franklin?

In 1781 Franklin, one of the wisest of the founding fathers of the USA,
befriended a fellow-Philadelphian – Haym Solomon, a financier and Bill
of Exchange broker. Solomon is one of the unknown benefactors of American.
He personally loaned about $60,000 (really pounds) and raised another 3.5
million pounds for the bankrupt U.S. government.

The money came from the French Rothschilds and Sassoon families and
companies. The reason you never heard of this Haym Solomon is nobody
remembers the banker, we idolize the man on the White Horse – G. Washington.

Franklin was an inventor and philosopher and asked Solomon to take him to
his Temple for services. He did not want to convert, just learn how these
Israelites worshiped. They attended services at Congregation Mikveh Israel in
Philadelphia, when Franklin saw a reader at the Torah (Pentateuch), the first
Five-Books of the Bible. The reader held in his hand a YAD, Hebrew: for hand,
a ritual-pointer to underline the words of each sentence of the Torah parchment
scrolls. It is a hand-held slim, silver pen-like instrument, in the shape of a
hand (Yad) with the index finger extended.

Bottom-line: Franklin thereafter always read books, articles and his newspaper
underlining the words holding a quill in his hands. He taught both children and
adults his new speed reading system.

A professor doubted my recitation of speed reading history.
I asked him this question – “Vas You Dere, Sharlie?” We got it from the writings
of Haym Solomon who was there with Benny the wise.

Evelyn Wood, my original business partner, later did the same. She called the hand or fingers used to underline a Pacer. It is historical, and now you know the true story of how Ben Franklin invented speed reading.

See ya,

copyright 2007 H. Bernard Wechsler

Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's
Original business partner of Evelyn Wood, graduating 2 million
including the White House staff of four U.S. Presidents