Reading Out Aloud When is it Good For You?

Subvocalisation is one of the challenges we have to overcome if we are going to learn how to read much faster.

It is a habit we develop when we first learn to read because the teachers (and our parents) need to know we are doing it right.

It is simply saying to ourselves what we are reading as we are reading it.

If you go to my blog post on subvocalisation you will find out more about it there so I wont repeat myself here.

All you need to know is that this habit limits our ability to read to the fastest rate at which we can speak.

As the current world record is 603.32 words in 54.2 seconds set by Fran Capo (which equates to about 667 words per minute) that means your upper limit is going to be well below this.

[Since writing this post I have actually met Fran Capo and you can see what she thought of my session “How To Read Faster And Remember More” here when I met her in New York recently].

Without training or the desire to break a world record, the average person has a maximum talking speed of about 400 words per minute.

On most of my speed reading courses, the average reading speed is in the region of 250-300 words per minute when they first walk in the door.

Now this post is not about overcoming that challenge, but looking at how we can use reading aloud to further our own brain development.

For Christmas I was given a Nintendo DS and Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training game.

One of the training exercises it recommends is reading out aloud as fast as you can.

The idea is to speak quickly and clearly but do it at the fastest rate possible.

It is quite a challenge if you push for speed you end up slurring or missing words.

If you go for clarity and correctness, there is an effect on the rate you read.

So there is a balance, but as the Brain Training Game is showing me, you can improve.

According to Dr Kawashima in his annoying little post exercise messages, the activity will stimulate the pre-frontal cortex.

A quick search on the interweb-pedia-thing tells me that it is a part of the brain thought to be key to short term working memory.

It wasn’t however until I tried it that I realised what a good mental workout it was.

So if you want to train your grey cells and don’t want to invest in a Nintendo DS, then just find some good quality literature and read it out loud as fast and as clearly as you possibly can.

This wont help you increase your reading speed but you will find your mind stimulated and thoroughly exercised and depending on your choice of reading material, your vocabulary will improve too.

Try it and let me know how you get on.

You could start with this post which from the first paragraph is 488 words in length.

Time yourself and you can work out your reading speed in words per minute see how close you are to the world record.