FAQs – PhotoReading and Speed Reading

PhotoReading and Speed Reading Questions

PhotoReading Speed Reading Q&A FAQ

Is it easy to learn speed reading and photoreading? Can anyone learn these techniques? 

Yes, anyone willing to learn it can do it. It is a natural ability that simply requires some practice and perseverance. The innovative techniques are straightforward and easy to put into practice. Most people get noticeable results within the first few hours of starting to speed read and photoread.

I’m a medical biochemistry student. Does this system work with scientific journals and books? 

Yes. And with IT manuals, business reports, preparing to write essays, language learning – anything which requires you to process large amounts of information in a limited time. We also offer you a variety of strategies for dealing with different sorts of material.

When students complete your photoreading course, what are their average reading speeds and what’s their level of comprehension? The video makes me think that you can photoread a textbook one day and then pass an examination in the subject the next. Is that true?

Most people (at least) double their reading rate after 2 days of coaching. Many read 3 or 4 times faster – or more. The greatest improvement was 40 times faster – but this was somebody who had dyslexia, plus the motivation of an exam 2 weeks later! Some people have passed exams without doing any work other than photoreading the books the day before, but if you learn the system, you won’t need to resort to such drastic measures. You will learn much more than simply how to read faster. After our course, students are able to keep ahead of their reading throughout their whole course of study, which means they not only get through their exams more easily, they really do know the subject better. And with this system, comprehension and retention are much greater than with conventional reading.

Is it possible to read 25000 words a minute?

It’s not possible to read 25000 words a minute in the conventional, sequential (word by word) way, but you can photoread at that rate. The photoreading step (we call it ‘downloading’) uses your peripheral vision to allow your non-conscious mind to take in huge amounts of information. We then teach you how to bring that information to conscious awareness.

What is the upper speed limit for the photoreading / downloading technique?

Paul Scheele, the principal developer of the PhotoReading Whole Mind System, has PhotoRead (downloaded) books at 68000 words a minute with 74% comprehension. You may also have seen Paul McKenna’s late-night documentary on hypnosis in April 1995. The programme showed McKenna download a novel that scrolled across a Cray’s computer screen at over 200000 words a minute – and he scored over 70% in a subsequent comprehension test.

How does PhotoReading work?

The PhotoReading Whole Mind System is a five-step process, of which the photoreading / downloading step is one part. The others include overviewing the book, getting into a good state for taking in information, using a variety of speed reading techniques, and taking notes (eg using mind mapping or rhizomapping). The system uses both the conscious and non-conscious mind at maximum efficiency.

Is the photoreading / downloading step different from speed reading? 

Yes. Speed-reading techniques increase your conscious reading speed. Downloading is the non-conscious absorption of large amounts of material.

Will I still be able to read books for enjoyment at my current reading speed?

Yes, definitely. The photoreading / speed reading techniques are particularly designed for getting through large amounts of factual information quickly, but you can still read novels and poetry at a speed which allows you to savour them. What the course gives you above all is options – you will control how much and how fast you read. Incidentally, if you do photoread (download) novels before you read them in a more conventional way, you may notice both that you read the novels more quickly, and also that the experience of the story and characters becomes richer.

What is the difference between your photoreading course and other speed reading courses?

We cover the same information as other courses in speed reading and photoreading – and more. We teach all the speed reading techniques (those which help you read faster) and the photoreading techniques (the downloading step, plus the five steps which make up the PhotoReading Whole Mind System). The key differences between our PhotoReading course and other speed reading courses:
1. The order and way in which we teach the information makes it easier to absorb
2. We give participants a set of tools (including rhizomaps) which allow them to devise a Strategic Reading System unique to their own needs. (Others teach a ‘one size fits all’ system.)
3. We offer an advanced set of techniques for removing learning blocks which may otherwise stop the PhotoReading and speed reading techniques from being effective
4. We focus on the desired outcome – your skills and your reading needs. (Others can get rather bogged down in the process). Many of our students actually get through some of their outstanding reading work during the course.
Our courses have proved particularly effective, both because of these differences and because the two coaches teaching the small groups are experts in all aspects of leading-edge learning.
Many photoreaders have reported learning another language is much easier with speed reading and photoreading. They use strategies such as repeatedly downloading dictionaries, grammar books and every book they can find in that language every day or as often as they are able to.

I’ve read that one could improve sports performance and increase creative ability with photoreading. Is it true? 

Yes, this is called Implicit Learning or Direct Learning. Many people have found that by simply photoreading/downloading the appropriate books on a subject, they notice a spontaneous improvement in their chosen field. This is particularly appropriate for sports (we’ve had excellent reports from golfers and tennis players), music (several musicians reported that downloading musical scores a day before first playing the music makes the first run through much easier – as if they have already practised the piece), and health issues.

My 10-year-old daughter is interested in learning to speed read on your course. Would this be suitable for her? Can children learn speed reading? 

Our courses are designed for all ages from about 14 onwards. Younger children can easily learn from their parents. We have successfully taught children of your daughter’s age, but one of their parents also came on the course. It also depends on how mature your daughter is and what her reading needs are.

Can speed reading and photoreading help to pass exams? 

Absolutely! Photoreading and speed reading are invaluable skills for exam preparation. Firstly, you get an overview of the whole subject, which helps you to understand and learn it. Then, after downloading it and using a variety of speed reading and note-taking techniques, you find that you have gone over the material at least three times – in much less time than it normally takes to read the material once in a conventional way. These techniques also help ‘crystalise’ the information, so that it lodges more easily into your brain’s memory pathways. Thirdly, photoreading gives you the confidence, security and reassurance that all the necessary information is in your mind, and allows you to trust your intuition to guide you through the exam. With speed reading and photoreading you gain the attitudes, skills and knowledge that are essential to passing exams. And because you’ll also learn how to relax and be in control of your mind, exams become something to look forward to. Imagine that!

I have poor eyesight. Can I still learn photoreading? 

Because the photoreading / downloading element relies on the peripheral vision, and not the hard focus of foveal vision, many people with severely diminished eyesight have enjoyed the success of photoreading. With this in mind, some photoreaders found it is not necessary to wear glasses while downloading information, although they wear their reading glasses for other techniques.

What are other benefits of using photoreading? 

During the course, you will enhance your natural strengths as a learner. You will feel more comfortable with learning and have more confidence in your abilities (which leads to higher self-esteem). You’ll enrich your capacity to absorb and gain more meaning from reading. And the course gives you choices about which techniques to use for which kinds of reading – which puts you in control. The transformative power of the techniques can be transferred to other areas of life too. You will have more time to do the things that matter to you. Time is money, time is precious. That’s why super-achievers use their reading strategies as part of their time management. All that and more in just 2 days. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself and your family.

How else can I learn photoreading and speed reading? 

Many people learn best in workshop settings and that’s why we run photoreading – speed reading courses. But you can always try to read some books on speed reading and photoreading by yourself.

Will I be able to use speed reading and photoreading after the two-day seminar?

During the seminar you will learn all you need to know about how to speed read and photoread – and many people report their successes within a week. Like any skill, you need to use it for it to become second nature. Depending on your existing skills, motivation, needs, expectations and self-image, we would expect most people to be appreciating all the benefits of using the system within a month (at most) – and once learned, the benefits last a lifetime!

Will photoreading give me a photographic memory? 

Photoreading does not give you a photographic memory nor instant recall of everything. Nor do we think that a photographic memory is desirable. We teach you to synthesise the information before you commit it to memory. (If you mentally ‘photograph’ thousands of books, you still have to ‘read’ them in your head to find the relevant information.) If you are planning a stage career as a memory genius, this is not the course for you. We focus on helping normal people achieve their normal reading goals (passing exams, processing large amounts of information, etc) quickly.

Can photoreading help with dyslexia or be used by dyslexics?

Yes, it can. We have found that speed reading and photoreading techniques can help dyslexics overcome their difficulties to process written information. Part of the system uses a technique developed by John Duns Scotus and popularised by Ron Davis, author of ‘The Gift of Dyslexia’, which focuses your concentration and allows you to take in the information in the same way as non-dyslexics.

Can young kids learn photoreading and speed reading? Do you provide speed reading courses for kids?

Yes, young kids can learn speed reading and the earlier-ish the better. We provide speed reading courses for kids.

What affects our reading ability?

• Clarity of purpose
• Familiarity with the subject and related terminology
• The difficulty of the text, whether it’s well-written or well laid out
• Urgency and stress levels
• Mood, tiredness, physical conditions
• Vocabulary – the bigger your vocabulary, the faster you’ll be able to read
• The position of the book: keep the book at an angle (research shows that by optimizing the position of the book in relation to your eyes you can double the reading speed)

What slows down reading?

• Sub-vocalising – ‘reading with your ears’. The main reason people read at an average rate of 150-240 words per minute is that it is approximately the rate at which they speak.
• Vocalising (actually speaking out loud)
• The habit of regression/progression (jumping backwards and forwards)
• Small vocabulary
• Perfectionism: wanting to know ‘everything’ which is a self-defeating script for failure
• Inner critic: an inner voice that stops you from noticing what is working

Any further questions about PhotoReading or speed reading? 

Please ring Jan on 07956 288574 or email him