Many times over my years as a verbal tutor, I have had parents approach me with questions about speed reading techniques. Though speed reading programs contain a natural allure, I have always told parents that they fail to address students' deeper issues with comprehension. Recently, professors Jeffrey M. Zacks and Rebecca Treiman of Washington University in St. Louis laid out the case against speed reading very adeptly in their piece in the New York Times.
I honestly wish that there were a speed reading program that would provide an immediate and easy solution for those of us who struggle with reading comprehension. The reality of the situation is that reading is an inherently personal and individual activity, and issues in comprehension can come from a broad range of issues with the text. Although it is a disappointing truth, people must learn to accept that fact that speed reading gimmicks are no more than just that - gimmicks. Like with most skills in life, the best way to build our reading ability is to read consistently, challenging ourselves to constantly read new and challenging material that will expose us to more challenging vocabulary and passage structure. No matter our level of comprehension as readers, we can always push ourselves to improve!