Speed reading successfully requires you to train and use your eyes in new ways. All speed reading training covers some approach to getting the eyes to move more efficiently. Did you know that there are eye training methods that could actually be harmful? Here are some mistakes to avoid.

1. Focusing on eye span development exclusively. Speed reading does require the reader to learn to use the eyes more efficiently. Moving the eyes more fluidly and "attending" to more words for each fixation (stop of the eyes) is essential. However, there is a second aspect that is almost never addressed with the depth that is required to master the skills. The missing component is comprehension. Most books, software training, and other speed reading development resources do not really teach the comprehension process to a level that most people can actually succeed in achieving their desired results.

2. Using a tachistoscopic type of eye training. Tachistoscopes were machines that would flash words on a screen. Gradually it would increase the number of words across a whole line to the point of seeing a whole line then several lines, and finally a paragraph. This method was proven to be harmful as far back as the 1960s. However, the same approach has continued in a variety of software applications, and books on the subject. This type of training requires the eye muscle to loosen to see beyond the normal visual field of the reader. Stretching the muscles can damage the eyes.

3. Using a ruler or index card is another common approach. There a couple of problems with this. First, who walks around with a ruler in their pocket? Secondly, the ruler or index card may help the eyes track on a particular line of print, but it blocks the visual field below that line. That interferes with feeding the visual information to the brain. When this approach is used the speed will not increase exponentially.

4. Seeing "clumps" or "word groups" is another misconception. A clump or "word group" is defined merely as seeing more words for each fixation, or stop of the eyes. This is a misconception because no one consciously thinks about where their eyes are stopping when they read. Several different programs and books I have researched leave the learner in a mechanized state of stop and go. This jittery movement with the eyes doesn't make for a fluid reading experience. Although the reader does want to take in more for each eye stop, it can not be planned consciously. Rather than "word clumps" the reader needs to look for meaningful groups of words. These meaning groups can be strung across several lines and across several inches.

These mistakes have one thing in common. They do not take into consideration the area of clear sight that we all experience naturally. The natural clear area of sight for most readers is between one to three inches in diameter. Sight is dimensional. You want to use your natural dimensional sight when training this aspect of speed reading. But please, don't forget, there's more than just the eye training. Learning how to comprehend at accelerated rates and then be able to recall the information easily is what masterful speed reading is all about.

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 http://speedreadingtactics.com/speed_reading_newsletter.html and download the free eBook, "The 10 Top Mistakes When Learning Speed Reading."