Speed Reading
Mar 02, 2021 7:00 AM
Howard Berg
Speed Reading

(From the Rotary club of Austin) Recently presenting to his Rotary Club, Howard Berg said, “It all started in Brooklyn.” He is from New York, and as a child he felt that the “one consistently safe place” was the library. He attended college at SUNY Binghamton, while also working several jobs. He sought out ways to increase his productivity, and this resulted in completing his course requirements rapidly; for example, reading 48 books in only 3 days toward his science degree. He was able to complete both his degree in Biology and a 4-year Psychology program in only 1 year.

He shared several case studies of young students who have participated in his program to read and study faster. Most of them were younger than 20 years old and graduated college, law school, or post-graduate school so quickly that by the time they were in their early 20’s they were already securing successful careers.

Howard shared 3 main points of his learning program: Information overload, “waking up” your emotional state, and memory.

Point 1: The problem of information overload. We are constantly bombarded with an excess of information, and our brains struggle to process it. As tips to start teaching yourself to read faster, he shared these steps:

First, read the page of a book at your normal pace. Then, re-read that page with your hand/finger moving along each row and focus on following your hand/finger to read. Over time you will find yourself reading about 20% faster, collecting the information you need instead of concentrating on every word.

Point 2: The most important skill of all may be to recognize your emotional state.

Howard invited the crowd to participate in an exercise. Everyone stood and touched each of their shoulders with the opposite hand, then each knee, and then put a hand in the air, made a fist and said “I feel great!”

Howard explained that people, organizations, and companies need to be aware of both how they are creating emotional states (such as “I feel great!”) and of how they are extinguishing emotional interference (such as “I can’t do that.”).

Point 3: Memory. Most of us use visual and aural queues to remember things more productively than just reading the information. This relates to how one can better study subjects like math. While some students may not understand math concepts immediately or think they are “not good at math” it’s possible to explain it to them in a different way to allow their brain to pair visual and aural queues.

In another audience exercise, Howard presented a series of numbers, 1 through 10, with a picture of an object and a phrase that related that object to the number (for example “1 for pole”, “2 for shoes”, and “3 for tricycle”). This learning method was to make it easier for people to memorize an association of numbers.

We heard another successful case study about a man named Brad V. who was able to complete his undergraduate degree in college in only 6 months, while also learning Chinese in 3 weeks, so he could achieve his goal to be a traveling missionary.

Mr. Berg finished his presentation by sharing his desire to help kids and schools with potentially free/no cost programs that teach his learning method.