A speed-reading instructor said it can be the solution to information overload.
Paul Nowak, the founder and program director of Iris Reading, which holds speed-reading seminars across the country, said there is bigger need today to read information quickly and pick out the details.
Think of all the information that comes your way every day, via smart phones, computers and even relatively old-fashioned books, newspapers and magazines.
“Everybody has a lot of information,” he said. “How can you actually get the diamonds in the rough and pick out those gold nuggets that are useful for your career, for school?"
Nowak said his company’s seminars can help many people read faster and retain more. In the past year and a half, Iris has expanded to 16 cities, he said.
"By the end of a one-day, five-hour session, what they can expect, typically, [is] anything from two to three times faster,” he said. “So someone will double or triple their speed with the same or better comprehension. That's typically what we see."
The classes consist of drills, and Nowak said people who practice afterward do better.
Some students said the classes made them better students.
"I would spend, on average, two, four hours a night reading, and that time has cut down significantly,” said Alice Bowling, an MBA student.
Wyatt Head, a Dallas high school student, said he hoped speed-reading can help him do better in English class.
“Basically, I'm trying to just speed up my reading of Shakespeare and the reading of all these random books that they give you in high school so I can get better grades," he said.
Nowak said speed-reading is good for professionals, too.
"Most people don't calculate how much time they spend a week for reading,” he said. “If you're a lawyer, you might spend 20, 30 hours a week just reading, and imagine if you've doubled your speed and cut that in half. 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. "