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Meta guiding is the visual guiding of the eye using a finger or pointer, such as a pen, in order for the eye to move faster along the length of a passage of text. It involves drawing invisible shapes on a page of text in order to broaden the visual span for speed reading. For example, an audience of customers at a speed reading seminar will be instructed to use a finger or pen to make these shapes on a page and told that this will speed up their visual cortex, increase their visual span to take in the whole line, and even imprint the information into their subconscious for later retrieval. It has also been claimed to reduce subvocalization, thereby speeding up reading. This encourages the eye to skim over the text but reduces comprehension and memory, and leads to missing important details of the text.
This method of reading is primarily encouraged through speed reading courses and literature. However, this method has been found to be ineffective for such purposes, and is regarded by reading experts as snake oil. This is because speed reading in this manner is actually skimming, which takes a very short time to learn and does not require extensive instruction.