Speed reading computer application programs are available. Vortex Speed Reading was the first; however, Vallier, the creator of the program, did not update it and it would not work on Windows XP.

Most speed reading programs use a different approach to the usual 'speed reading' tips where a few words are grouped together to be read. One method is presenting words to the reader one at a time in the same position, stopping the eyes from having to move around as they would on a normal paragraph.

These programs present the data as a serial stream as the only way the brain handles text is breaking it up into a serial stream before parsing and interpreting it. Speed reading programs pre-process and serialize text, so the brain does not need to do so.

Usually, commas and semi-colons have a single break and periods, question marks, exclamation marks, and speech marks have a double break.

Some speed reading programs include watching the center of the screen while watching the lines around it expand, watching several objects (instead of text) move by in a line and watching an object bounce around, up and down, left and right and require the user to focus their eyes on the object while it moves. The method of using objects are criticized by some who state that the only way to read faster is to read actual text.

The newest speed reading software guides the user through the lines of an on-screen book at certain speeds. The text is usually highlighted to indicate where the reader should focus. The user is not expected to read by pronouncing words, but to read by viewing the words as images. The exercises are intended to train the reader to eliminate subvocalization which, it is claimed, will allow them to read at higher rates. The best analogy is a billboard. When you see a billboard with the word Milk, you do not have to pronounce the word, you can recognize it just as easily as you would see a glass of milk.

The process of learning speed reading techniques can be compared to learning a new language. Generally younger students acquire the technique faster than older students .It takes practice. Some benefits can be seen right away but true speed reading abilities develop over time and after practicing frequently. Many people give up before they have mastered the technique. Many also complain that comprehension is reduced. Comprehension is re-learned and takes time. When a child learns to read the first time, they have little comprehension. After years of reading, the child will develop comprehension. The average person only has a 50% to 70% comprehension rate reading 250 words per minute. Speed readers may start at zero percent and build to 50% after several months while building speed from 600 to 1000 words per minute. Comprehension will continue to improve as speed reading techniques are practiced.

One of the benefits of speed reading is the ability to re-read information. With 50% comprehension, a reader can re-read material two or three times thereby gaining more comprehension than they would have with a single normal reading pace read through which would have taken much longer.

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Speed Reading . The Official Guide to Speed Reading is Ed Caldwell.

If those that teach are lamps unto the world, Ed Caldwell is a shining example. In the age of information Ed has trained tens of thousands to reach their peak performance through dynamic reading and thinking skills seminars. Excited by the emergence of web-technologies, Ed is expanding his reach through his new company, ProductivElearn.com and it's Speed Reading Tactics area, an online learning site devoted to enabling personal and professional development for busy working people to master the information they are overloaded with today.

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