Reviewed by Alisha C.

We have heard of people who can speed read through novels in mere minutes, but you are probably like me in that you worry about comprehension. Beale’s guide addresses this concern with an extra set of exercises to ensure you don’t “speed look” through a book/magazine, but actually retain the information. She provides ways to read important words, utilize the “organizational pattern” of the work to your best benefit and tricks to find the “golden nuggets” in the text. Beale also provides tactics such as skimming, scanning and skipping in order to glean comprehension without reading every single word.

Beale explains ways to speed read while using pacers, how to skim and scan certain types of writing, ways to tackle large amounts of reading material and how to pare it down, along with exercises to stay alert and evaluate your current reading habits in order to improve them. The guide provides tactics to employ for different types of reading material (online, magazine, non-fiction and fiction). While less than half of the book actually focuses on reading words and turning pages faster, the remainder of the book provides helpful hints for getting through material faster, effective note taking strategies, how to expand your vocabulary and how to control the speed with which you read.

The book’s co-author, Mullan, provides tactics for reading online text, articles and books using speed techniques. Mullan explains how to adapt paper reading techniques to digital documents. Mullan also provides a set of on-screen pacers you can use to gain momentum and speed when reading online text.

[amazonify]1592577784[/amazonify]Beale’s guide does not suggest that you always speed read material, but provides tips and tricks on how to switch between speeds when reading different types of material. She compares it to driving a manual transmission car, in some instances, you can shift into fifth gear and fly (like news articles) while in other instances (Shakespeare, poetry, etc.) you should remain in the lower gears both for enjoyment and comprehension.

I have read a few other Complete Idiot’s Guides and generally find them to be a little too basic and with much of the information overly repeated throughout the book. In my opinion, the guides generally lack substance and I tend to search for other titles to satisfy my curiosity about a given topic. That said, I was impressed by the amount of information in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading. While the tendency to summarize and repeat the information still exists, the book provided a large amount of information and “time-saving strategies for reading faster and remembering more.” I spent a little time trying some of timed exercises and did see a noticeable improvement in my reading times. I plan to go back and practice them more!

Part-time fiction writer, Alisha Churbe lives in Portland, Oregon. In the rare instances when you can pry her away from books, Alisha can be found travelling in foreign countries, cooking, or hiking with her husband Michael and dog Zach.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Wilks Communication. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.