By EDITH ALLARD

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Having trouble keeping up with the reading assignments for class? Worry no more—Chicago-based Iris Reading, a worldwide provider of online and in person speed reading courses, has offered a set of free webinars for UNH students.

The introductory courses, available for online registration, are designed to improve the reading speed, comprehension, and retention of participants. Two of these “Speed Reading 101” classes already took place on Sept. 30 and Oct. 7, but two more Iris courses will still be occurring later in the month—on Oct. 12 and 15.

Paul Nowak, founder of Iris Reading and instructor for the UNH webinars, said that learning speed reading techniques during his own freshman year of college changed his learning experience for the better.

“I started at around 190 words per minute. After about 10 hours of training, I got to 830,” he said. Later, he added, “When I was learning speed reading, I was wondering, ‘why didn’t I do this earlier?’”

In Nowak’s view, speed reading should be taught on a widespread scale for its effectiveness.

What can students expect from registering for one of these courses? Nowak will share helpful methods and techniques, some of which are as simple as following the book’s text with your finger or a pen. Participants will also undergo a number of exercises designed to help improve reading speed.

Over 1000 students signed up for Iris Reading’s previous webinar on Sept. 30, and according to the in-class poll, 89 percent of them improved their reading speed during the course of the 45-minute class. Nowak says that students usually see their reading ability improve by 20-50 percent.

“Just doubling your reading speed saves you half the time,” said Nowak.

The course on Oct. 15, which is intended to help students improve memory after reading, can also help save students time by helping them remember what they read during their first attempt. This course, titled “Memory Techniques: How To Remember What You Read,” goes far beyond the typical methods of memory mnemonics—according to Nowak, those aren’t even mentioned.

Instead, Iris Reading’s “Memory Techniques” class touches on more complicated but effective concepts, like the ‘memory palace’ technique that was used by the ancient Greeks.

These online video classes have scheduled times that they will occur, but students don’t have to worry about watching it on time. Iris Reading will send the recording of the class to all registrants within 24 hours of the course date, and it will remain available for several days. Nowak encourages the sharing and distribution of the videos and the principles of his organization. So far, he’s happy with the response UNH has given his courses.

“We’ve actually had an overwhelming response,” he said, “We are planning on having more classes beyond Oct. 15. We’ll have additional dates available later in October.”

An updated schedule will be available online later on in the month.