The Importance of Improving your Reading Skills

by Jeff Packard

Have you ever considered the role of reading in your personal and professional life? Even more, have you ever considered the cost of poor reading skills??

We all should think about reading because reading plays such a pivotal role in our personal and professional life.

For example... you've just been handed a brochure and manual for your company's newest, most innovative product ever. You're elated by the prospects of offering this wonderful product! Yet you're feeling overwhelmed by the necessity to read everything in order to understand the benefits this product offers.

"Overwhelmed" is the feeling most adults in the business world have when asked about reading material. It doesn't matter if it's a newsletter, magazine, or the latest marketing idea that could help them earn twice what they did last year. When people are faced with hundreds of daily email messages related to business and personal relationships on top of everything else they must review, reading becomes a burden.

Why is reading a burden? The problem of poor reading skills dates back to what you did not learn way back in elementary school--Silent Reading. Let me explain.

In first, second, and third grades, you're taught to read out loud one word at a time. You became a fluent oral reader. However, after third grade, reading education stopped. Armed only with oral reading skills, you moved into a world requiring only silent reading skills. But you were never taught silent reading skills.

When you entered fourth grade, you were told to read silently, but you were not taught how to read silently. Looking around a room full of kids you wouldn't hear much, but you would see fingers pointing to words, lips moving (vocalizing) to silently work out what the words might be, and heads turning left and right across the page. You and they were using oral reading skills in a world that required silent reading skills.

Individuals who use oral reading skills to read silently limit their reading speed to the speed at which they can speak (about 180 words per minute) rather than the speed at which the brain works . . . 10 times that number.

What's the difference? A fluent oral reader reads one word at a time, out loud (vocalizing each word). A fluent silent reader reads groups of words with each eye fixation and does not vocalize words as they are read. If you read one word at a time and vocalize each word and another person reads two or more words at a time and does not vocalize, that other person will read two, three or four times faster than you and will have much better comprehension and recall of what was read.

Doesn't that sound like at goal to pursue? Of course it does!

To improve your reading skill, you need to learn to see more than one word at a time and stop vocalizing words (even if it's silently in your head). Reading one word at a time allows you to achieve a certain pace, not unlike a horse walking down the street. Clip-clop, clip clop. However, kick that horse into a trot or full gallop and you'll reach your destination in half the time or less and be much more invigorated by the journey you've just taken than had you continued clip-clopping along.

For more tips on tapping into your capacity to reading better through certain techniques and skills, sign up for Jeff Packard's FREE Webinar below:

Do you like what you've read?

Subscribe to Networking Times and receive a whole professional journal packed with similar insightful and motivational articles. A subscription to Networking Times includes the following benefits:

  • a perfect-bound issue of Networking Times in the mail
  • a FREE E-subscription: access to the latest online issue
  • online access to the entire library of back issues since 2002


Social Media