⏐122 Effective Screen Reading
20 min. 40 min.
Area of additional memory gain (2 breaks)
Figure 3.3: The Von Restorff effect with multiple breaks and the
Imagine how many words there are in your head. Each one has
its own special associations, feelings, thoughts, sensory input, con-
nections, and memories. These associations are only yours. During
reading, your interpretation of an individual word may not be the
same as the author’s. With an increase in your reading speed, you
are less likely to stray from the author’s intent. As the brain has
very little time to make “unnecessary” associations, you don’t get
stuck anymore with individual words. You can visualize the overall
picture much easier and understand the key messages.
To summarize, reading speeds below 200 wpm actually make
your understanding worse. You need to maintain a speed high
enough for good comprehension—a range of 450 to 900 wpm (see
Figure 3.4). Of course, exceeding your current reading capacity too
much and too soon will result in a deterioration in your understand-
ing. For the majority of people, this deterioration occurs after 1,000
wpm, even though there are exceptions to this main rule. Your pre-
sent capacity can, of course, be increased with practice.