Students with dyslexia and/or ADD tend to get the hang of speed reading faster than others; in fact, quite often they are the most gifted of speed readers. Jeffrey Freed and Laurie Parsons explain why this is in their 1997 book, Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World. All children with ADD and dyslexia are right brained, whereas most other people are left brained. The right-brain functions include art, music, intuition, imagination, and visualization; the left brain governs analytical thought, logic, language, science, and math.
Unlike normal reading, which takes place in the left brain, speed reading occurs in the right brain. Students with ADD or dyslexia often struggle with learning to read and are placed in remedial programs, but these programs encourage their readers to slow down and take their time. This is exactly the wrong thing to do. It is essential that students with ADD or dyslexia not read slowly, as their “minds work visually and often at a feverish pace.” What’s more, because “reading is about comprehension, and comprehension is about visualization, a strength of the right-brained population,” these students with ADD and dyslexia excel at speed reading.
If you’re left brained, take heart. Though most of us are either right brained or left brained, everyone has access to both sides of their brains. (I, for example, am 59% right-brain dominated and 41% left-brain dominated, at least, according to the results of an online test.) Speed reading may be more difficult for a left-brained person, but, nonetheless, it is a skill that anyone can–and should–acquire.