Colleges are seeking new ways to help students stay afloat in today’s sea of information.

The easy availability to distribute information on the web has resulted in more information being assigned to students on top of their text book reading requirements. Students also spend more time reading using phones, tablets, laptops, and researching or reading messages from friends. Professors commonly make assignments using the web which means still more supplemental information to be read. Students can easily spend 50% or more of their waking hours reading. They have more to read today than ever before and less time.

How can students ever hope to deal with the growing flood of information? This pinch between time and the volume of information dumped on the heads of students has resulted in revived interest in Speed Reading on college campuses.
Most people read around 200 to 300 words per minute, which is close to the rate we speak. Speed Reading teaches methods that allow a person to read at 600 to 2500 words per minute.

According to Michael Ford, the developer of the Speed Reader-X speed reading system,“In the past two years we have seen a noticeable increase in the number of schools requesting information on setting up speed reading classes. Most of the requests come from Nevada, California, and for some reason Speed Reading is very popular in Florida and Utah.” He went on to say, "We just shipped out 100 copies of our speed reading software to a major East coast university after they sold out of the first shipment." "Speed reading used to be limited to Australia, but the need to read more information has caused a revived interest in US and Canadian schools."

The speed reading method was discovered in the 1950’s by Evelyn Wood when she turned in an 80 page college paper and her professor flipped through it, reading it cover to cover in seconds. He was a natural speed reader who developed the skills on his own without realizing he read differently from anyone else. Evelyn Wood went on to study this phenomena and eventually founded a speed reading institute in Australia. Since then, speed reading has become popular in many countries. However, the technique was almost unknown in the USA until recently when software training systems were developed which made learning the technique much easier.

Critics have questioned the usefulness of speed reading due to lower comprehension rates experienced by some people. According to Mr. Ford, “Speed must be learned before comprehension can be developed. It is exactly the same when a child first learns to read. Children must learn the mechanics of reading and then they develop comprehension with practice. Once a person learns the speed reading techniques, comprehension will follow.”

The avalanche of printed and digital reading material that is overwhelming college students will only grow as demands on students increase and their free time decreases. Speed Reading could help future students manage this information overload but, Mr. Ford warns, “Learning speed reading is like learning a foreign language. Anyone can do it but, it is much easier when you are younger and the more you use the techniques, the easier speed reading becomes. I suggest starting before college. Many people start in college but, you can gain the most benefits if you are proficient before beginning college rather than trying to learn speed reading while facing a full class load too. Start early, that is my advice.”

If you would like more information, Mr. Ford has created a free 45 minute class that explains how speed reading works and it is available at

Author's Bio: 

Michael Ford is the creator of the Speed Reader-X training system. His company, Elite Minds Inc, also produces a wide variety of educational products.