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Subject:

Re: Speed Reading

From:

Nic Voge <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 16 Mar 2010 13:00:32 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (409 lines)

Sara,
I think we share a similar point of view on this. I would consider  
techniques for establishing a clear, useful purpose and grasping the  
organizational structure of a text ("structure strategy") speed  
reading techniques if they are used with that intention. This line of   
thinking quickly leads to the question of "What do you mean by the  
term 'speed reading'?" which has not been raised in this discussion.  
Rather than try to define that particular term absolutely, I would  
simply say that there are lots of ways to read, any of which can be  
adaptive depending upon the reading situation. Adapting what have been  
considered "speed reading" techniques which have been designed for non- 
academic reading to academic reading situations can be difficult (and  
often not  successful), but I have seen literally hundreds of students  
do it. So, while I am familiar with the literature which says that  
speed reading at certain rates (not always the same rates, mind you)  
is "impossible", I have seen otherwise. My response is that if someone  
can "skim" in ways that yield comprehension, analysis, synthesis,  
critique etc. that we associate with "reading," then why do we insist  
on them  "reading"?

I do think the term "speed reading" is misleading, not only because of  
the associations it conjures, but because it suggests a single  
solution to the underlying issue such methods are designed to address.  
I think what most readers want is to read efficiently (which can  
roughly be conceived of as rateXquality), and they mistakenly imagine  
that the only or best way to do that is to read at a faster rate. Yet,  
there are many ways to increase one's efficiency (and thus reduce the  
amount of time one spends reading and learning with text) that have  
nothing to do with rate, and in that sense speed reading minimizes the  
variety of ways students can read more efficiently. Notice, also,  
that  because one uses speed reading techniques does not mean that  
they would spend less time reading. A reader could use the time saved  
to do a second "reading" or find related texts and work with those.  
It's the implicit values that some attribute to speed reading that I  
would challenge, but not the techniques themselves.

To me this discussion points to a more fundamental issue which we  
probably all face. If students bring to our centers and services  
conceptions and beliefs which are out of alignment with our own and  
which we feel are counter-productive, be they conceptions of speed  
reading as a magic bullet or tutoring as remedial, how do we outreach  
and respond to students in ways that account for these beliefs and  
spur students to action (e.g. signing up for a service) while acting  
in ways consistent with our own beliefs? Because so much of our work  
is charged and stigmatized by virtue of uninformed thinking about  
teaching and learning, we in our community face this more, perhaps,  
than other educators in the post-secondary context. So, if this issue  
is, indeed one we (as individuals and as a community) face, how do we  
respond to what appears to be a  dilemma fundamental to our work on  
our respective campuses?

Best,
Nic
On Mar 12, 2010, at 2:42 PM, Sara Weertz wrote:

> Pat,
>
> This is indeed an important topic and I too appreciate the  
> discussion because, when applied correctly, speed reading can be an  
> effective academic tool.
>
> You raise an interesting point surrounding the semantics of speed  
> reading. People who have never taken a reliable, credible speed  
> reading class assume the technique is based on one's ability to  
> master the art of skimming. While there are "those kinds" of speed- 
> reading classes, they are neither theoretical nor evidence-based;  
> however, TurboRead, SQ3R, your colleague's PARROT model, and even  
> the standard Evelyn Wood rely on proven methods such as surveying,  
> active reading, questioning, noting patterns or chunking and  
> reviewing as well as eliminating subvocalization. There is no way  
> anyone could successfully complete a credible speed-reading class  
> without devoting a substantial amount of time, mostly to practice.  
> And yet, as you point out, that's the key to speed reading.
>
> I recently presented my own reading strategy workshop, Above PAR, to  
> a group of medical students. ("PAR" stands for Preview, Active  
> reading, and Review.) The med students were intrigued with the  
> process but flat-out stated they didn't have the time to "go through  
> all those steps" just to read the text. In the end, skimming their  
> entire reading assignment--just to say they had read it--was better  
> than reading and truly understanding only a portion of the assignment.
>
> Sara
>
>
>
> Sara Weertz
> Director, Supplemental Instruction
> Angelo State University
> Member, Texas Tech University System
> ASU Station #10915
> San Angelo, TX  76909
> (325) 942-2710  X-387
> [log in to unmask]
>
> *********************************************************************************
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask] 
> ] On Behalf Of Maher, Patricia
> Sent: Friday, March 12, 2010 9:09 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Speed Reading
>
> Hello everyone!
>
> Time for me to weigh in on this conversation.  One of my functions  
> here at USF is to work 1:1 with medical students who are struggling  
> and they frequently ask for speed reading training.  In an effort to  
> convince them that is NOT the answer, one of our Reading  
> Instructors, Barbara McLay (recently retired), conducted an  
> extensive literature review on Speed Reading and the "strategies"  
> that are often recommended for increasing reading speed.  The simple  
> conclusion was that most of them have no sound research to back up  
> the claims.  One issue that was clear, the more you read, the faster  
> you read and the better your vocabulary will expand; it is a skill  
> that improves with practice and vocabulary grows best in context.   
> In reality, most speed reading models are based on  simply using  
> focused skimming strategies, but as we all know it is not the right  
> approach for the type of study reading necessary for academic  
> success.  In addition, many strategies offered in her review were de!
> veloped "pre-technology" and of course this has changed the way our  
> students receive and interact with information.
>
> That said, what we offer to students in our Strategic Learning class  
> and in our workshops is an emphasis on understanding first the  
> purpose of the reading task and then selecting the right strategy  
> for the task and for the result desired.  So things like  
> highlighting, notes in the margin, taking separate notes etc., are  
> driven by purpose, not a pat set of strategies claiming to be the  
> only route to success.
>
> I have attached Barbara's Textbook reading model:  PARROT.  Please  
> feel free to use it and share it with other colleagues, as long as  
> credit to her is clear.  It can be referenced as first published in  
> our custom book for out FYE course. The book is  Experience USF,  
> David Campaigne, Editor, Houghton Mifflin. 2004
>
> I appreciate this discussion; I think it is important in order to  
> increase the credibility for our work and to lead students to the  
> most up-to-date and sound strategies.
>
>
>
> Pat
>
> Patricia A. Maher, Ph. D.
> Director, Tutoring and Learning Services University of South Florida
> 4202 E. Fowler Ave.
> Tampa, FL  33620
> LIB 206
> (813)974-5141
> [log in to unmask]
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask] 
> ] On Behalf Of Sara Weertz
> Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:52 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Speed Reading
>
> When it comes to speed reading, I have to agree with Nic. It has  
> been some years since I facilitated a speed reading course at  
> another university. The course was called TurboRead and was, if I  
> remember correctly, a 6- to 8-hour "class" because of the amount of  
> new knowledge, instruction, and practice necessary. For the more  
> advanced student, I could provide a "quick and dirty" rendition. I  
> personally went through the entire TurboRead program when our school  
> initially purchased the software. As impressive as the content  
> appeared to be, the main concern was the time needed to develop this  
> particular skill. Most students want (or expect) immediate  
> gratification. Although TurboRead can be used as a self-paced course- 
> you need not have a facilitator present at all times-there wasn't a  
> huge surge of students lining up to use the free software. And yet,  
> that was the expectation because of the amount of reading college  
> students typically have.
>
>
>
> http://www.turboread.com/
>
>
>
> sal
>
>
> [cid:[log in to unmask]]
>
> Sara Weertz
> Director, Supplemental Instruction
> Angelo State University
> Member, Texas Tech University System
> ASU Station #10915
> San Angelo, TX  76909
> (325) 942-2710  X-387
> [log in to unmask]
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask] 
> ] On Behalf Of Nic Voge
> Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:14 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Speed Reading
>
>
>
> I was waiting to see Karen's reply. I attended the session she  
> mentions and found it very good. But, I didn't teach speed reading  
> workshops at UC Berkeley and doubt I will here at Princeton. I was  
> trained  to teach speed reading and later served as a trainer for a  
> non-profit called the Institute of Reading  Development. They had  
> developed an excellent 5-6 week 3hr/session speed reading and  
> comprehension course for college students and professionals. When I   
> got into learning support I thought I would teach--at some point-- 
> something similar. But, in fact, I have found that unless I can really
>
> devote large chunks of time in an intensive format such as a 5 week/ 
> 3 hour sequence that I prefer not to introduce speed reading  
> techniques, except on rare occasions. From my perspective, to be  
> effective, students must learn a  new approach to reading to "speed  
> read" effectively. It takes time and effort; I haven't ever been  
> able to justify the time and effort I think it would take say, in a  
> learning strategies course format.
>
>
>
> Best,
>
> Nic
>
>
>
> Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
>
> [log in to unmask]
>
> (609)258-6921
>
>
>
> Associate Director
>
> McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning
>
> 328C Frist Campus Center
>
> Princeton University
>
> Princeton, NJ 08544
>
>
>
> ____________________________________________
>
> On Mar 10, 2010, at 5:18 PM, Karen Agee wrote:
>
>
>
> Carolyn,
>
>
>
> For more than 25 years, the Reading and Learning Center at UNI has
>
> offered free, no-credit Speed Reading courses, most taught by a very
>
> small staff of Peer Instructors.  (The Peer Instructors also staff
>
> the Ask-a-Tutor program; lead workshops, study groups, book clubs,
>
> and Supportive Seminars--UNI's version of SI.)  Classes meet three
>
> hours a week for four weeks (e.g., MWF 9:00-9:50, TTh 2:00-3:15).
>
> For assessment of rate and comprehension on the first, middle, and
>
> last days of class, we use various forms of an old Diagnostic
>
> Reading Test (though not diagnostically--just something reliable we
>
> know students have never read).  We try not to put more than 18
>
> students in a section during summer orientation/registration,
>
> knowing that some should drop from time conflicts, ideally leaving
>
> 9-12 students per section.  (In the real world, classes have ranged
>
> from 1 to 25, and we don't have anywhere near 25 stop watches.)
>
>
>
> Why don't I send you by individual email the handout for a 2007 CRLA
>
> conference presentation that James Barnes (UC-Merced) and I offered
>
> on teaching speed reading.
>
>
>
> Karen
>
> ************************************************
>
> Carolyn Rubin said the following on 3/10/2010 3:17 PM:
>
> Dear Colleagues,
>
>
>
> 1) Does anyone offer speed reading workshops through their learning
>
> centers? If so, which materials do you use and how many students do
>
> you
>
> permit in each section?
>
>
>
> 2) Does anyone have any ideas for an interactive 10-15 minute
>
> orientation activity regarding study skills for new students?
>
>
>
> Thank you in advance.
>
>
>
> Carolyn Rubin,  M.S. Ed.
>
> Yeshiva University
>
> Learning Specialist
>
> Office of Academic Support
>
> 116 Laurel Hill Terrace
>
> 646-685-0109
>
> [log in to unmask]
>
>
>
>
>
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____________________________________
Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
[log in to unmask]
(609)258-6921

Associate Director
McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning
328C Frist Campus Center
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544

Individual Appointment Times:
Monday 11-12
Tuesday 4-5
Wednesday 3-4
Thursday 11-12 & 2-3

"A university is, according to the usual designation, an alma mater,  
knowing her children one by one, not a foundry, or a mint, or a  
treadmill."-John Henry Newman






~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
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