When you are starting to learn speed reading one of the common mistakes the learner makes is trying to read faster by speeding up what they already do. This approach may bring some gain, but they will be short lived. Here's how to overcome this mistake.

The learner gives up simply because this approach is exhausting. It can not be maintained over extended periods. Think of a day when you woke up late and had to rush to get out of the house. If you have to do that all the time, you burn yourself out.

Almost all speed reading programs will begin with some form of visual eye-span training. Increasing the efficiency of the eyes is part of the process. However, all the books, and programs I have researched takes the visual training to the extreme. Some have the learner expanding the eye-span beyond the 1-3 inches of normal dimensional sight. Their concept is if the eyes take in more, then eventually you'll understand more. This is only partially true. So the process is speeding up the eyes into a frenzy of mechanized movements that eventually lead to fatigue. Meanwhile the mind takes a hike and wanders off somewhere else.

But what are you doing to get your mind to respond? You need to train it as well!

The key to lasting results with speed reading training is simple - to change your performance of how you read now, you need to radically change your behavior. This does not mean you merely speed up the visual process. You must also change how your mind responds to the print. That means you also need to shift how you comprehend as well as how your eyes function in the reading process.

The real change is a change in perception. Perception refers to the brain's process of filtering and interpreting information. This is also the definition of reading - interpreting visual symbols. Currently your brain is conditioned to read (interpret) in a word by word pattern that is based on a linear grammatical structure and speaking patterns. It is so ingrained, that it is a habit that is hard to break. This limits your speed to about how fast you speak.

This perceptual change in how to understand (interpret) print rapidly requires the learner to turn the approach literally upside down. Instead of focusing on the individual pieces (words and phrases), the learner needs to first grasp the concepts and ideas. Then, if needed, you go into the facts, details, and specifications. This is in harmony with what brain researchers have already discovered. Neuro-scientists learned that the brain first scans the whole of a situation before it tunes into the details.

After reading that, you may think, that sounds simple. However, in practice perceptual change is difficult because of the habit of how we have come to understand comprehension. Habits are hard to break. In order for behavioral change to become a habit, the behavior needs to be repeated over an extended period of time. Most behaviorists agree that takes thirty to forty-five days at a minimum. Most people give up either because they do not have the self-discipline to repeat the exercises and training, or they don't have effective coaching. Don't make this mistake if you really want to learn to speed read.

Author's Bio: 

Ed Caldwell is the creator and publisher of the "Masters Online Program: Dynamic Reading, Memory, and Recall" and other live and web-based learning programs. As former National Director of Instruction and Certification for the world famous Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics program, Ed has 30 years experience teaching and testing new strategies to help people from all walks of life learn to read more efficiently. Trainer, speaker, and writer, he can be contacted at inquiry@productivelearn.com. He is the creator and president of Productive Learning Systems, Inc, and ProductivElearn.com, Inc. You can learn more at speedreadingtactics.com and download the free eBook, "The 10 Top Mistakes When Learning Speed Reading."