Illumine charts rise in reading speed in response to the information age

Top Quote Training specialist, Illumine, has found that its speed reading courses are not only helping to improve delegates' reading speeds but also helping them overcome the stress of 'information overwhelm'. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) July 22, 2010 - Although most of the literature on reading speed suggests that an average reading speed is between 240 and 250 words per minute (wpm), individuals attending Illumine's first speed reading courses, in 1997, read at an average of 265 wpm.

    "So either that average figure was wrong or people attending the Illumine courses read faster than average," commented Clive Lewis, Director of Training at Illumine and author of 'The Extraordinary Reader'.

    Analysis of data from more recent Illumine courses shows that the average initial reading speeds of delegates is now 297wpm. That represents an increase of some 12% over the 1997 figure.

    Lewis continued: "In the last decade or so, the explosion of information in the form of email, the web and printed material has been phenomenal, so we were interested to see whether reading speeds had increased accordingly - to allow people to cope with this new pressure to acquire more information faster.

    "While our figures show a significant shift, it's hardly an adequate response to the massive changes we've seen - and people were already suffering from information overwhelm years ago. The situation can only have become worse."

    Having identified that people were starting its courses with higher initial reading speeds, Illumine examined whether this had an impact on the improvement they experienced during the courses.

    This revealed that whereas the average improvement used to be from 265wpm to 695wpm, the average improvement now is from 297wpm to 839wpm - an increase in the level of improvement from 162% to 182%.

    "We were delighted to discover that, despite higher initial reading speeds, the improvement people are making during our courses is now significantly greater than in the past," said Lewis. "We feel that at least some of this improvement is due to us - some years ago - shifting the focus of these courses to comprehension and information retention rather than concentrating purely on speed reading.

    "Those changes, together with improved post-course support have helped to cement an average reading speed among delegates which is now 20% higher than it was a decade or so ago.

    "Interestingly, many of the individuals who already read 50% or even 100% higher than the average, tell us that they are still struggling to cope with the volumes that they are expected, or need, to read," he added.

    "However, our figures show that while, in 1997, less than 10% of delegates finished the course with reading speeds above 1000wpm, that number has now leapt to over 30%.

    "We know that, as people continue to practise after attending a speed reading course, their reading speed and comprehension improve further," said Lewis.

    "So, to see so many people doing so well during the course is particularly satisfying. For these individuals, information overwhelm should be a thing of the past."

    About Illumine's speed reading courses
    Link to Speed Reading Challenge -

    Link to Speed Reading course -

    Link to Extraordinary Reader -

    About Illumine Ltd
    Illumine® is the leading provider of training that enhances practical thinking skills to improve the performance of individuals and organisations. Focusing on thinking as a source of competitive advantage, Illumine has compiled a unique range of courses and workshops that address challenges that are real. In so doing, these courses make a real difference to people - making them more effective and more efficient at work as well as providing them with life skills that they can use and benefit from in many different ways.

    Illumine aims to ensure that its clients always get both value for money and value for time. Its courses cover five key areas: Assimilate; Communicate; Innovate; Facilitate, and Motivate. The courses address real and pressing challenges facing many people in forward-looking organisations.
    Further information from:

    Richard Evans, Illumine, +44 (0)1753 847318; Richard.Evans ( @ ) illumine dot co dot uk
    Bob Little, Bob Little Press & PR, +44 (0)1727 860405; bob.little ( @ ) boblittlepr dot com

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