I'll preface this by saying I'm a creative professional, so for me, the world is intensely visual. I tend to think that pictures are often the best way to communicate, and as @THelper notes, many mnemonic techniques are based on visualization.
As to your question, I know that a lot of speedreading courses teach you to silence your inner voice...the one that reads the word back to you silently as you look at it...and instead train yourself to look at the word(s) and visualize the meaning. While I've not been very successful as silencing my inner voice, I do know that when I make an effort, I ~do~ tend to read faster and retain more.
Simple observation, as Holmes said, is the key to remembering things. Perhaps observing the CONTEXT rather than just reading the content can lead to a more Holmes-like interaction with textual information.