There are many claims by hypnotherapy providers that reading speeds can be increased using hypnosis- some even stating that reading speeds can be as much as trebled. Is speed reading simply a case of a skill that must be practised or is there really a way of learning this skill quickly and easily?

Speed reading works by taking in whole groups or sentences of words instead of reading each word individually. It is also common for a normal reader to “say” each word in their head as they read (inwardly vocalising), however speed readers tend not to do this, instead confidently absorbing the information ready for later recall, a bit like those with a photographic memory are able to do. They see and process the sentences but do not have to say the words to themselves as they read them. This means that with an increase of up to 800 additional words per minute when reading, the speed reader will also have a greater comprehension of what they have read- in some instances comprehending up to 25% more than the average reader.

Hypnosis can be beneficial to developing speed reading skills as suggestions can be given to increase confidence and trust that the information read is being absorbed and can be accessed easily later. Suggestion can also be made to help the reader ignore unnecessary distractions so that the mind is able to remain focused on the text and easily grasp each sentence.

Like any skill speed reading needs to be continuously practised in order to master it and the best way to do this is by reading as much and as many different types of texts as possible. In the early days however, it is important to feel that you are achieving to maintain your interest in developing the skill. This can be done by initially reading text that are meaningful to you.

There are also several practical steps you can take to help you develop your speed reading skills. For example, learning peripheral vision (expanded vision) will make it easier to take in whole sentences as you read rather than individual words. The kind of music you listen to as you’re reading can also have an impact on your reading speed. (Obviously lively tracks will likely increase your reading speed. It’s also important to read in the right environment- ensure that your material is at a good distance from your face and at a comfortable angle. Avoid reading in bed. Your bed is strongly linked to relaxation and sleeping so is unlikely to induce the right state for reading at speed.

By Gemma Bailey