There is a definable element that is commonly shared by all those who are considered good readers. It's not speed, or even comprehensive ability. What really defines a good reader is their ability to be flexible readers. In other words, really good readers know what parts to quickly skim through and what parts to really intensely focus on. The fact is that good readers do not attack every collection of words in the same way. Material that is light and frothy is read very quickly; more dense material is read more slowly. Therefore, to say that learning to be a fast reader is a good thing ain't necessarily so.
Part of the flexibility that comes with being a good reader has to do not with comprehension, but sheer enjoyment and pleasure. Good reading involves stretching out the process of reading something that entertaining. Have you ever heard a book referred to as a "good read"? That means that it is distinctly pleasurable to read and you will want to make that pleasure last as long as possible. It's just like a good meal; you want it to last so you slow down and savor each delicious bite. Becoming a good reader involves developing the habit of prolonging the pleasure of a good read.
Likewise, this particular talent is also utilized when reading something that requires extra special care and attention. How can you rise to the level of a good reader? The first step in learning to become a good reader involves knowing how to adjust the rate at which you read. Essentially, there are three distinct rates of effective reading, but if you don't know when to apply them, just knowing how to use them won't make much difference. Skimming is the process of quickly scanning written material for pertinent or useful information.
This information can range from answering a specific question or to get a general idea of a larger subject. In addition, skimming can be used when you are looking to find the main idea or focus of a piece of literature. To get an idea of what skimming is, go to a bookstore and watch what people do when they pick up a book. Watch as they flip the pages casually glance over a few specific pages. There is no possible way to get any detailed information in this way, but that isn't what skimming is for.
The eye can quickly grasp the disparate words on a page and logically connect them to give an informed opinion about either the topic or whether he writing style itself is suitable. The medium rate of reading is engaged to read material that isn't too complex or difficult to understand. Like skimming, you can use this average rate of reading to quickly get to an answer you seek or to get the main idea of the work. The difference from skimming is that you read more words rather than just scan quickly. In this way, you can get not only the main idea, but even some of the specifics. This is the kind of reading you might do with an easily understood novel or a magazine article.
Deep reading is the slowest form of reading and is used when you must understand not just the main idea but very specific concepts. Deep reading is used, for instance, when studying textbooks, following detailed instructions, or reading a more complex type of fiction that demands more from you. Good readers, as you can see, aren't the ones who finish first all the time. A good reader must learn what type of rate to peruse material at, and he must understand when it is important to pay close attention to detail and when to merely look for highlights.