This is of interest to me, as I have much practical experience with teaching people to read faster.
I read rather fast, around 500-600 WPM. My comprehension is high, and I am also excellent at "skimming": reading far faster than normal to identify specific parts of the text.
Professionally, I teach people to do better on the law school admission test (LSAT). The exam has a section on reading comprehension. Student must read four dense passages in 35 minutes and answer questions.
Most students complain that they don't have enough time. Invariably, when I test these students, they are reading 200-250 WPM. That's half my speed! At the low end (sub-200) students actually vocalize words - their lips move when they read. Other students, who have enough time, read 280+
For the past year, I have been experimenting with training students to reduce subvocalization and read faster. A sizeable minority of students report very rapid increased, perhaps 60-100 WPM within a week. Perhaps 40%. Many other report improved skimming (important on the test), even if their speed doesn't increase. About half report no improvement, but many of them simply don't try the method, as they are skeptical.
I'm not a believer in 1000+ reading speeds, but I do think many people have a latent capacity to read better. My own results support this, though my research methods leave something to be desired.
Does anyone know of studies that test whether improvements within the normal band of reading speed are possible?
Do you feel that speed reading hurts your enjoyment of fiction? I'm a slow reader and one the one hand I want to improve so that I can read more stuff but on the other hand I feel that it will ruin literature for me. Some sentences lose all impact when you blaze through them at 100KMH.
I can't say if this is generalizable, but it certainly hurts my enjoyment of fiction. I read a metric shitton of fiction. I used to read fiction professionally, in fact. I remain a very slow fiction reader, at least subjectively, based on my assessment of my friends', peers', and family members' fiction-reading speeds. But speed isn't really the point when I read fiction.
Speed reading has its place, but I will never comprehend the desire to apply speed reading to pleasure reading. Those two goals, speed and pleasure, seem orthogonal at best to me.
Speed reading is all well and good when you have more on your desk than you can handle, and you need to get the gist of everything quickly. It's a triage technique.
I'd love to speed read for pleasure. That's because most of my pleasure reading is nonfiction. I don't particularly enjoy the reading; I just like learning new things and having my mind expanded a bit. If I could breeze through nonfiction at 1000wpm with great understanding, I'd be all over that. The ability to do so would be worth thousands of dollars to me.
But in my experience, things like Spritz, Spreeder, or just moving eyes faster are fine when the sentences are short and repetitive: "Most people read at 250wpm. You are now reading at 350 wpm. That is 40% faster than most people. And this isn't even hard, right?" When I try to use such techniques to read about, say, relativity, quantum mechanics, or international development, my comprehension approaches 0.
I had a boss with a very average IQ but who was a competent manager. A couple of times, I flew on business trips with him, and we sat in different parts of the plane. Both times, I would get up to walk around the plane a bit and see him over in his seat going through some recent bestselling novel. Amazingly (to me), I would see him burning through his beach literature at an average rate of about 100 pages/hr, which would be about 600wpm, except that he took breaks. I'd guess that he read at about 700-750wpm. He wasn't trying to impress anyone; he was just sitting by himself reading to pass the time.
This was astonishing to me. I read a lot more than he did and had a much richer vocabulary, yet I wouldn't have been able to follow the story at even half that speed. I eventually asked him about it and reached the conclusion that we read in different ways. I'm bored by books like that and usually read things that I have to think about to understand. If I do read a book like his, I read a bit and drift off thinking about it, then read a bit more and drift off in thought.... He rips through it with so much speed and focus that he apparently "experiences" it like a movie without drifting off into analysis. The speed intensifies the experience for him; it doesn't ruin it.
I've tried to do it but without success. I seem to be trained to chew my food, not inhale it. And he used to tease me about the things I would read for fun, apparently considering them unspeakably boring and nearly indecipherable.
I think there is more diversity in the action of reading than most of us imagine.
The intensification of experience sounds familiar to me. The very average IQ, not so much. ;-)
That said, we undoubtably read different stuff. I like reading fiction that is meant to be enjoyed, and non-fiction that teaches me about various things. But when it comes to philosophy, well, I'm with Dijkstra. About the use of language: it is impossible to sharpen a pencil with a blunt axe. It is equally vain to try to do it with ten blunt axes instead.
I have the opposite experience. I tend to read good fiction -- the nice, trashy, swords-and-sorcery-and-spaceships stuff, not the deep, meaningful War and Peace stuff -- at speeds way above my comprehension level. I enjoy it just fine, my imagination fully engaged, and I'm just accidentally skipping words and sentences and paragraphs in my eagerness to find out what happens next. When I go back and reread a good book, I always encounter material I know I missed on the first time through.
Nonfiction on the other hand -- textbooks and papers and the like, the real information dense stuff, not the light and fluffy pop science books -- I read at a much more plodding pace, carefully reading each word, skipping nothing, and frequently backing up to reread a paragraph.
> Does anyone know of studies that test whether improvements within the normal band of reading speed are possible?
Isn't this trivially true? Did you read 600 wpm at age seven?
I'm not sure I'm willing to call 200 wpms (spending more than a minute reading your ~260 word (according to wc) comment) being "proficient" at reading. Barring any fundamental problems (dyslexia, possibly poor sight) anyone should be able to improve beyond that. If you're reading 200 wpm (with good comprehension) increasing to a rather modest 400 wpm doubles your efficiency! That seems like it should be a worthy goal of any student (because it makes them much more efficient students).
Does your comprehension suffer when reading at that speed? I can read phrases/short sentences at a time and get a general gist of what is going on. That allows for incredibly fast reading, however it is hopeless if I am reading any kind of technical material.
As another really fast reader: if I get to the end of a sentence/paragraph/page and feel like I must have missed something, I just read it again. If you read really fast, it's not that much of a penalty. It's much like how slow typists will arrow back to correct typos, but fast ones will quickly delete all of the words back to the typo and just retype from there.
This is what I do (I'm OP). Normally, I wouldn't say my comprehension is hurt. But if it is, I just reread. You get a deeper understanding the second time through, and rereading is far faster than reading.
I've zombied myself through a few chapters on countless occasions. Sometimes I get into this mode where I'm just processing information and moving on to the next sentence like it's an entirely new work: process, understand, toss out, go on to next thing.
Sometimes that results in noticing that I don't even remember the last two or three chapters and have to reread.
Good point -- in response we'd say: 'pricing is hard!'
Its pretty rare that an individual hosts will have enough information to accurately/comfortably price their home.
By studying larger trends across a municipality, we think we can help paint a clearer picture for these hosts, both for short term price surges & also for how they should set the base price their home.
I also expect you could help mobilize spare capacity. I know some hosts who rent out their space one weekend a year and make $500-$600. They just go on a short vacation when the major festival hits town.
They get easy money, guests find space. With more spare capacity, I'd bet the average price would drop and more people would be happy.
I've seen this work in a limited scale in my own venture. I started an lsat prep website, http://lsathacks.com
Almost everything about the site was inspired by reference examples within the industry. And yet the site is unique, because I have my own take on things. I saw the principles underlying various sites, and redid them in my own style.
It's still early days, but initial results are positive. I'd have gotten nowhere if I stubbornly insisted on only original ideas.
I'm kind of going the same route, filling the gaps that other people skip over because they're chasing the big dream. I'm just hoping to make enough income so I can work on my own projects full-time, and have the flexibility of self-employment.
I frequently prefer FB Messenger because it is both desktop (web) and mobile, and it handles media. There are other cross-platform messaging services like Google Hangouts (GChat/GTalk), but I still can't attach a photo. Or there are ones like WhatsApp that focus on mobile, and are missing desktop/web. Apple iMessage is good, but it's only usable on iOS devices, which is not always what I'm using. And other cross-platform messaging products don't really have much adoption.