Speed reading is a method of reading that takes some training on the part of the reader. For the most part you could sum this method up by saying that the reader has to avoid falling into sub-vocalization of the words. This is to say that mentally you don’t sound out every word phonetically, you strictly worry about the meaning, not the letters and sounds.
The term “speed reading” was born because of Evelyn Wood in the 1950′s. Evelyn Wood was a teacher who was very inquisitive as to why some of her students were very fast readers while others were slower. She happened to be doing something where her hand slid across a page and she noticed how her eyes wanted to follow. This is how the “Wood Method” was brought about. Evelyn Wood used her hand as a guide or pacer.
There are pros and cons to speed reading. While you may get through reading something faster and possibly cover more information there is a concern that reading comprehension in speed reading is not as high.
Another method of speed reading is “skimming”. We have all probably done this from time to time. You glance through paragraphs just looking for keywords or to just get a glimpse of the gist of the information.
There are several commercial speed reading programs or curriculum on the market today. There is not data to be found as to whether or not one method is better than another. It would be wise to do your own research and figure out what program may work best with your learning style and better fit the needs you have as far as what you are trying to accomplish with speed reading. Different methods or programs may have different areas of focus.