Effects of Reading Speed and Retrieval Practice on Reading Comprehension

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Northern Kentucky University
Although research suggests that speed reading is ineffective, it remains a popular strategy among students. We investigated the impact of an effective strategy (engaging in self-test practice, also known as retrieval practice) on speed reading. Would retrieval practice improve the efficacy of speed reading? We had participants read two passages (one at a regular rate and one at an accelerated rate) and they were given quizzes over the material either before or after reading the passages (except for the control group, which never received a quiz). Participants then completed a final comprehension test over the material. We predicted that receiving a quiz before reading would most benefit speed reading, whereas a quiz after reading would most benefit normal reading. The results did not support our hypothesis. Results indicated that regular reading was always the superior strategy regardless of quiz placement. These results suggest that speed reading is detrimental to comprehension, even when paired with retrieval practice. Limitations and future directions are discussed.
Reading Speed, Reading Comprehension, Retrieval Practice