Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for episode #145 with Howard Stephen Berg[i], who is recognized as the world’s fastest reader according to the Guinness Book of World Records with over a 90% comprehension rate, thanks to the cutting edge accelerated learning techniques he has developed over his lifetime while working on ways to speed up reading for himself and for others.
✔︎ 5 Steps to Improve Reading Comprehension That We Should All Know (Teachers and the Workplace)
✔︎ Improve Your Reading Speed by 20-40% with a Simple Activity.
✔︎ A Quick Strategy to Improve Your Memory and Recall.
✔︎ Using Humor to Make Learning Memorable.
✔︎ How to Write an EBOOK in 3-5 hours.
I'm Andrea Samadi, author and educator from Toronto, Canada, now living in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies in our schools, sports, and the workplace with strategies that we can all use, understand and implement, for improved results.
On this week’s episode, we have Howard “Speedy” Berg, who has been recognized for setting the world record for speed reading. He is listed in the 1990 Guinness Book of World Records for reading more than 25,000 words a minute and writing more than 100 words a minute.
Howard is a graduate of S.U.N.Y, Binghamton where he majored in Biology and then completed a four-year psychology program in one year. His graduate studies at several New York City colleges, focused on the Psychology of Reading.
Howard is the Spokesperson for the Sony E-Reader along with Justin Timberlake, Peyton Manning, and Amy Sedaris.
He has appeared on over 1,100 radio and television programs including Neil Cavuto, Jon Stewart, and Live With Regis. His brain-based learning strategies have been hailed as a major breakthrough in publications like Forbes, Men’s Health, Red Book, and Bottom Line Magazine, and have been featured in dozens of newspaper interviews throughout North America.
I first met Howard Berg in 2013 when I was at a conference in Chicago, and first developing my programs for students in the classroom. I saw the importance of Howard’s work and immediately went to speak with him at the end of the event. When you meet Howard, you will see that his humble nature shines through. He told me to look at his website, and see if there is anything that I see where he could help me. He wasn’t just saying this. He really meant It, and I knew it. I never did follow up with Howard, as my programs went into the school market, and it wasn’t until a few years later that he was showcasing his speed-reading work, that I tuned in to watch him, hoping to learn something new that I could use with my girls.
I did learn a speed-reading technique where he teaches anyone to read 20-40% faster, which is a skill we could all use these days. If you want to learn more about Howard’s courses, go to his website berglearning.com and you can access his courses on speed reading (professional level, for kids or student edition), his memory training course, creative writing course, and mind math course.
In the meantime, let’s meet Howard Berg and see what he will teach us today!
Welcome Howard, it’s wonderful to see you again. I’m not sure if you remember every person you meet, especially not over 7 years ago, but we met at Bill Walsh’s event in Chicago, and I was blown away with what you were showcasing for students at a time I was just creating programs for the school market. I’ve followed you ever since, and am grateful for all of the strategies you have put out into the world. Thanks for being here today.
Q1: I know you cover this question on every interview you do, but I love your story. Can you give a quick overview on your background and how you came to be known as the world’s fastest reader?
Q2: Instilling lifelong learning is a skill I’m passionate about (for students and for those who want to get ahead in the workplace). What were some of the results of the young kids (ages 11-15) you saw and how do you think they reached such high levels?
Q3: These days we live in a knowledge-based economy. Everything you do is based on what you know. Reading and writing are important skills not just for our students, but for those who want to get ahead with their career, reading is essential but it’s one of those things we don’t get paid to do. What are the TOP 5 strategies you would suggest to help people to read faster?
Q3B: I saw you do something in an interview[ii], where you read 21 pages of a book in 35 seconds. I am reading a couple books a week depending on how many interviews are set up, and how many books each speaker has written. I really need to improve this skill because the research puts me ahead of the game, when I can dig deeper and not just ask the surface-based questions. I heard you speaking about this strategy to improve reading speed by 20-40% and I actually used this with my daughter when she was struggling with reading to help her with not just speed, but comprehension and it helped her to improve her focus. What are some ways to improve reading speed and comprehension since I know that the faster we read, we can get to the point where we have lost the ability to recall and retain what we have read?
Q3C: What about writing? I have on my list to complete my third book, and with everything going on, I know I just need to block off the time, and maybe cut out some things to create the time needed. But you say I can write an EBOOK in 3-5 hours? Tell me what I am doing wrong?!
Q4: Listening to some of your podcasts and past work, I learned a lot about you, but loved hearing about how much time you spent studying at the library. How did you become interested in the brain and its impact on learning years before neuroscience is being integrated into our schools and curriculum and most of all, where can we find the time for all the reading, we know we should be doing?
Q4B: What about memory. When I was preparing for this interview (last Saturday), I watched some of your prior interviews and you have a strategy for improving memory. This is something I have been working on ever since my brain scan test at Amen Clinics came back and I scored low on memory recall, or recalling a list of random items. So you did this activity, and it’s 5 days after Saturday the 3rd when I listened to your strategy. You’ll have to take my word for it that I haven’t listened again after this first time, but you have a way to match up the list you need to remember with something you already know. Can you share how we can use this strategy in the real world? Maybe for remembering hotel rooms or parking spaces?
Q5: Giving back is important to you, and I saw it when I met you. You will do anything to help others. What special offer do you have going on today?
I want to thank you very much Howard for spending the time with me today, and for the impression you made on me all those years ago. I’ve loved seeing your work emerge all of the news and media and know that what you have created is needed, important and timely.