Information overload? Speed reading may help - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Information overload? Speed reading may help

DALLAS (KXAS/NBC) - One company said speed-reading classes can help many people read faster and retain more.

Think of all the information that comes every day via smart phones, computers manuals, menus and even relatively old-fashioned books, newspapers and magazines.

Some say it may be too much to absorb, but others say being able to read faster could help.

"There's a bigger need for being able to get through the information quickly and be able to pick out the details, so it's not so much it's more everybody has a lot of information, how can you actually get the diamonds in the rough and pick out those gold nuggets that are useful for your career for school," director of Iris Reading Paul Nowak said.

Iris Reading is a company that says it can help you read faster and retain more in just a few hours. In the past year and a half, Iris has expanded to 16 cities.

"By the end of a one-day, five-hour session, what they can expect, typically, anything from two to three times faster, so someone will double or triple their speed with the same or better comprehension. That's typically what we see," Nowak said.

Speed reading enjoyed popularity in '70s but faded from the public consciousness. Life has changed a lot since then.

"And we've refined it, too, to include things like reading faster off computer screens. In the '60s and '70s, not that many people (were) reading on a computer screen." Nowak said. "Now, you've got a ton of people that are doing a lot of online reading, and students, they're not just reading in textbooks anymore, they might have a PDF that they have to read, or online material, research, things like that."

The classes consist of drills that teach readers to read differently. It has to be practiced after the seminar. Some people say it's made them better students.

"I would spend, on average, two, four hours a night reading and that time has cut down significantly," MBA student Alice Bowling said.

And Nowak said it can improve your career, too.

"Most people don't calculate how much time they spend a week for reading, but some busy professionals, if you're a lawyer, you might spend 20 to 30 hours a week just reading and imagine if you've doubled your speed and cut that in half," he said. "And it's not just lawyers, it's doctors that we see in these classes, and sometimes professionals who just do a lot of personal reading."

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