Speed Reading Made Easy

Speed Reading Made Easy

Nila Banton Smith


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You may know people who are able to read a newspaper in a few minutes, flip through yet thoroughly absorb a book in an hour, or effortlessly finish skimming a report before you even suspected they were done. Quite possibly you have thought that these people were born with a natural talent for speed reading that you do not possess.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Speed reading actually consists of a series of simple skills that can be mastered and applied by anyone willing to take the short time and minimal effort needed to master these so-called “secrets” and “tricks.” Now they are no longer either secret or tricky—but completely comprehensible and available in the finest speed reading guide on the market today—


“Readable and persuasive.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer

“An excellent, self-improvement manual...by a specialist.”—Los Angeles Times

“Examples and self-applicable tests are provided every step of the way...Even the reader who thinks his speed and grasp adequate will benefit.”—Saturday Review Syndicate

“It is possible for anybody to read faster with increased pleasure and profit.”—San Francisco Call-Bulletin


Nila Banton Smith:
Nila Banton Smith (1889-1976) was a teacher, author, administrator and specialist in reading instruction. She published a number of books and papers on the subject beginning in 1922. A professor at New York University, she was a proponent of the “language experience” and “whole word” approaches to reading.

Born in Alton, Kent County, Michigan, to George and Ella (Banton) Smith, Smith was raised in the rural community of Bloomer Township, Montcalm County, MI. She graduated from Carson City High School in 1908 and completed her education at Mt. Pleasant Normal School (Central Michigan University) in 1911. In 1913, she completed a life certification program at Ypsilanti Normal School (Eastern Michigan University). She taught for a few years in Detroit Public Schools and received her B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1926. She became the Supervisor of Reading in the Detroit Public Schools from 1928-1933. She earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University with her doctoral dissertation, An Historical Analysis of American Reading Instruction, which went on to be published as a book, American Reading Instruction, in 1934. Her 1957 reading guide, Speed Reading Made Easy (original title: Read Faster—And Get More From Your Reading), which includes advice on keywords, paragraph analysis, article types and skimming, remains a useful guide to how to read more efficiently to this day.

In 1937, Smith became an Associate Professor of Education at Indiana University, and a Professor of Education at the University of Southern California in 1948. She taught at various colleges after that and was a professor at New York University, where she founded the NYU Reading Institute. In her final years she returned to the University of Southern California where she lived, funded several projects, including the Nila Banton Smith Reading Improvement Laboratory, and worked until she passed away in 1976, aged 87.