The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Speed reader helps students read more efficiently

College students are prone to occasional bouts of cramming: cramming for a seasonal midterm, a final project or a lengthy paper that was postponed until the last possible moment.  

When faced with a night where one must read and comprehend 80 pages of text in order to pass the next day’s exam, the average student might expect to spend more than a few minutes in the library.

For Howard Berg, a few minutes are more than adequate.

Named the world’s fastest reader by the “Guinness Book of Records” in 1990, Berg is able to read 80 pages of text in one minute.

In 60 seconds—equivalent to the time it would take to wash your hands, listen to half a song or load the dish washer—Berg can speed through the most extensive of transcripts.

According to Berg, the average person reads approximately 200 words per minute; through his speed reading techniques, he is cable of reading up to 35,000 words per word, depending on font and page size. Berg’s interest in speed reading began when he was a student at State University of New York at Binghamton.

After garnering a passion for psychology during the final years of his college career, he was told by college advisors that it would be impossible for him to fulfill all of the program’s requirements in time for graduation.

He defied the odds by completing a four year psychology program in one year, along with receiving his bachelor’s degree in biology.

Berg also claims to have completed a graduate course in educational psychology in seven hours, after reading a course book four times.

He finished the normally six hour test in 50 minutes and earned four graduate credits.

In an appearance on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” Berg read the 1,500 page Senate health-care bill live, and was able to explain specific elements in the document.

In his second appearance on the show Berg was able to read the 1,990 page House health-care bill.

According to Berg, after his appearance, the office of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, called Fox to complain about the publicizing of the student loan bill.

“[We] were finding things in the bill they didn’t want people to find,” Berg told The Daily Campus.

Through his program, “Speed Reading University,” Berg strives to teach others how to master his technique.

Berg believes that students are not being taught the necessary skills for the future.

“They don’t teach us how to learn, they teach us what to learn and what will happen if you don’t do it…if you don’t figure it out, that’s too bad,” Berg said.

According to Berg, “Reading is not learning, learning is being able to use the information when you need to use it…most people measure learning by how many hours they read or how many pages they looked at; they’re trying to memorize.”

Instead of memorizing, Berg encourages people to understand the information they are taking in.

He said his program teaches people “how to figure out what the questions are going to be…how many times did you give the right answer and you don’t even know what you said?”

A double blind efficacy study performed on a hundred participants found that after completing Berg’s four hour program, the average participant was able to improve their reading rate by 100 percent.

“[People] haven’t been presented with the right way to read that allows you to boost your reading speed at least two to four times, and maintain good comprehension of what you were reading,” Berg said.

Berg explains that when reading a book, many people have a voice in the back of their heads that pronounces one word at a time.

“Instead of seeing the book, you’re hearing it, and that’s why you read slowly,” said Berg.

He encourages students to take visual images of a page and read books similar to the way they read signs while driving fast on a highway.

“The amount of reading we have to do in college is demanding, so being able to increase the reading speed would be beneficial,” sophomore Roza Essaw said.

Berg believes that reading and learning quickly opens doors to future success.

“When you know how to learn and you know what you’re doing, there are no limits to what you can accomplish,” he said.

 Reading tips and a short preview of Berg’s speed reading program are available at

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