Subvocalizing’s Hidden Benefit

In this post, I would point out that subvocalizating has its use, despite the fact that speed reading courses discourages reading with while using it.

What is subvocalization?

Subvocalizing is when we speak words silently to ourselves while reading.

Most people still subvocalize even when reading quietly, because when we’re young we’ve been taught to read out loud, a habit we have carried up to adulthood.

Although subvocalizing can be considered normal, it is discouraged by speed reading courses because it’s slows down a person’s reading rate to that of his speaking rate, which is 150-250 words per minute.

By eliminating subvocalization, speed readers claim to read two-to-three times faster than normal, while comprehension stays the same.

It sure looks like that totally eliminating subvocalization is the way to go, isn’t it?

Subvocalization has a use too

But what if subvocalization has a hidden benefit — especially to those who write.

Allow me to explain. We can edit our written work better by reading sentences out loud. Agree?

But, we can’t always read our words out loud. For instance, if we’re on a public place, such as a library or coffee shop.

What’s the solution then? We subvocalize; it’s that simple. By subvocalizing, we can hear the words being spoken inside our head, which leads to better edits.

For speed readers out there, this is not an attempt to encourage subvocalizing while reading. Rather, I just want to point out that subvocalization has uses, too.

Subvocalizing slows down our reading rate, but it can be useful when editing written work.


3 thoughts on “Subvocalizing’s Hidden Benefit

  1. As a speech-language pathologist, I occasionally must train children to subvocalize. Subvocalization is beneficial – not just for writing, but for memory and other cognitive-linguistic processes.

    I am very curious about the rationale for eliminating it to improve speed reading. Do you know of research supporting this idea?

    • Thanks for the information. It’s nice to know that subvocalization has other benefits too, aside from correcting one’s writing.

      I haven’t read any research yet regarding the elimination of subvocalization. Though, I have found this article interesting:

      In the bottom of the article, references can be found, which you might find useful.

  2. Pingback: 3 Useful Tips I Learned from 2 Months of Blogging | White Belt Blogger

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