1. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    Reading Speed...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Henry The Purple, May 2, 2009.

    Not sure if this belongs in general discussion or writing, but I'll post it here anyway. I was wondering if anyone has any advice on how to improve reading speed? My speed averages out between 250wps and 280wps according to tests I've done. Considering how often I read, I find this pretty slow. Any tips on how to get those pupils sprinting?
     
  2. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I think the Robot in "Short Circuit" could do that.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    henry, i think you're getting something wrong/mixed up there... no human can read that fast, as has been noted above...

    forget about silly online tests and just have a clock hand next time you read a book... check the time and page number when you start... stop reading when an hour has passed... then you'll know how many pages per hour you read...

    fyi, i'm a fairly fast reader, though not what is called a 'speed-reader' and i read at a pretty steady 50 pph, when not distracted...
     
  4. Lavarian
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    Lavarian Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read leisurly. I know I can read fast, but I usually don't. I like to take time, absorb the information, and paint vivid imagery in my head.
     
  5. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    Sorry, I meant per minute not second. Whoops. :redface:

    Thanks, will do this. I remember doing this before and getting something like 40 pph (page per hour?)
     
  6. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I can totally understand where your coming from though.

    Like my sister reads books a day. Like 3 decent sized books , she can burn through. Granted it's not the most challenging material, romance novels anyone.

    It still would be cool to be able to do it.
     
  7. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find the more quickly you comprehend the material (as noted above; Carthonn's sister can go through several books per day, but easy romance novels are different than a classic, for example) the faster you will be able to read.

    That said, I also dont think there's a good way to improve your speed other than just reading-reading-reading. If you read slowly, you read slowly. Is it a problem?

    I prefer to read slowly --or at least reread, so it takes up just as much time as reading slowly. You absorb more information and catch things you might not have by speed reading.
     
  8. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    Depends on what I'm reading. If it's something light and breezy, a hundred pages an hour. If it's something more worthwhile and challenging, about half of that. That said, if it's something I'm very interested in I'll read it much faster than otherwise- Camus' The Plague isn't an easy read and it took me about three hours.
     
  9. Bob Magness
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    Bob Magness Senior Member

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    When I was attending Texas A&M a decade ago I attended this seminar on how to increase one's reading speed. There were basically a couple habits most readers have that if you broke would allow you to double or more your reading speed. It worked for me at the time.

    First, you must stop sub-vocalizing. Even if you don't move your lips when you read most people still pronounce out the words to some extent in their head. If you can break this habit you will see an increase.

    If you watch closely the eyes of someone reading will often see the eyes bouncing back and forth on the same line of text, sometimes rereading the same words more than once. The ideal is to allow your eyes to move from one end to the other in one, smooth, swift slide.

    Now, to practice these things what they made us do was read text faster than we could actually comprehend it. The idea was if you kept pushing yourself faster than you were comfortable with, once you slowed down back to a point you had full comprehension you would automatically be reading faster. It actually worked. If I remember correctly they even had us do the exercises with the book turned upside down so we could focus solely on the eye movements and not get slowed down with comprehension.

    I am sure there are sites out there that will describe it much better than I. But a decade later am I still reading as fast as I learned to do at that seminar? Well, it depends. If I kept doing those exercises on a regular basis my NATURAL reading speed would likely be much faster than it is. But frankly doing those exercises isn't my idea of fun. When I need to I am still able to "speed read" by making a conscious effort to stop sub-vocalizing and moving my eyes across the page swiftly and smoothly. It is a handy tool to have when reading for school or work.

    But when reading for leisure I don't bother with it.
     
  10. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I've heard people say stop vocalising the words you read, but words are meant to be spoken! You SHOULD read aloud as often as you can, or at least sound the words or vocalise or whatever you wanna call it. The rhythm, balance, speed, flow, all of these things can only be appreciated if you consider the way words sounddddd or are spokennnnn so I see no reasn to sacrifice this understandingfor the sake of a little extra speed. Besides, if you enjoy reading, and are reading a good book, why make it end faster than you need to? :p
     
  11. Bob Magness
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    Bob Magness Senior Member

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    I agree arron89, which is why I would never use those techniques when reading for pleasure. It does subtract from the enjoyment. Sort of like watching a good movie on double speed.
     
  12. *Sticks*
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    *Sticks* Member

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    I agree arron89, which is why I would never use those techniques when reading for pleasure. It does subtract from the enjoyment. Sort of like watching a good movie on double speed.

    I read about 150-200 pages per hour, without any 'techniques'. It's just the speed I read at, I simply can't not.
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I've really never understood the whole speed reading thing. I mean... why? To what end? At what point was it announced that the whole shebang was to be a race? I never attempted any of this stuff while I was at university and I graduated on schedule, and the need to read large amounts at university is the only reason I can really see for doing these excersises.

    Personally, I get miffed when people read my stuff and I realize that they are skim reading. I read every word of what I am reading; every article, every conjunction. Don't mean to poo-poo the subject, but I just don' get it.
     
  14. *Sticks*
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    *Sticks* Member

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    I read every word of what I am reading; every article, every conjunction.

    Me too.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i share others' disdain for 'speed-reading'... if reading for pleasure and/or for learning, speed is not something one should strive for... in fact, i can't think of a single good reason for wanting to be able to gobble down a 300-page book in a couple of hours... that would be like stuffing your face with a gourmet meal in seconds, as if you're in an eating contest... nothing of the various component parts would be 'tasted' or 'savored'... enjoyment being absent, one would be left with nothing but the useless claim of being faster than the rest of us, while we've just piddled along and enjoyed every bit of the ride...
     
  16. Bob Magness
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    Bob Magness Senior Member

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    The only time I “speed read” is at work. I work at an embassy and every morning my office gets hundreds of messages from agencies all over the world. Maybe 10% of them are actually pertinent to our job here. So I speed read them to determine which ones are pertinent for us in Cambodia. Then I print those out and read them at a much slower pace.

    I'll also speed read the news sometimes.
     
  17. *Sticks*
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    *Sticks* Member

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    i share others' disdain for 'speed-reading'... if reading for pleasure and/or for learning, speed is not something one should strive for... in fact, i can't think of a single good reason for wanting to be able to gobble down a 300-page book in a couple of hours...

    It's not that I want to, as such, just that I (And i'm sure many others) do. There's nothing deliberate about it, it's simply my natural reading speed.

    nothing of the various component parts would be 'tasted' or 'savored'... enjoyment being absent,

    I adore reading, and get lots of enjoyment from it. Sometimes, I wish a book would last longer, save me going to the library so often! Other than that, I do savour books, and enjoy every word.

    one would be left with nothing but the useless claim of being faster than the rest of us,

    Not nothing, I'm left, like everyone else, with the satisfaction of having just read a good book (usually anyway!)

    Also, I don't really care if I read faster then most people I know, as you said, it's a useless fact.

    while we've just piddled along and enjoyed every bit of the ride

    I enjoy every single bit of the 'ride'.
     
  18. fantasy girl
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    fantasy girl Contributing Member

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    when i read fast i tend to skim bits so the next time i go to read it i diont get whats going on, i think you should take it slow and steady. who cares wether you can read the half blood prince in a day or a week.
     
  19. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    In a situation like that, I can see the application. When I was in the service, the soviet com traffic we transcribed was done in a kind of shorthand code. Russians speak rather quickly and we had to get down every bit. I guess this is more speed writing than speed reading, and perhaps I'm getting off track, but there were those of us who had to go through this rather intimidating amount of transcribed material to pick out the important bits. The method of writing we used which made more a pictogram of words made it easier to skim through and find those things that we needed.

    You might ask why the person transcribing didn't just call out when those bits came through. Not really possible once you were in the zone and transcribing at full tilt. You become a bit of a machine at that point. When it was time for your shift to end, your replacement would pull up a chair beside you and tune in to the same thing you were listening to and start to transcribe. They would be right next to you, but you wouldn't notice. Once the flight sergeant saw that the new person was in the zone, he/she would slowly turn down the volume on the first person so as not to startle them. That was your queue that it was time to go.
     
  20. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Speed reading is a valuable skill when your job or pleasure involves "screening" large volumes of information for key points. It is not intended for pleasure reading.

    Have you ever read a government document . . . perhaps case law, tax regulations or building codes? Nobody ever taught government employees how to write, so they tuck a few salient points into pages after page of nonsense. I speed read proposed legislation before voting on propositions, looking for inconsistencies that might reveal hidden agendas...can't trust politicians.

    I learned to speed read in high school when counselors thought I had a "reading disorder" because I did not finish many reading assignments. They forced me into this reading class (I resisted at first) where I increased both my reading speed and comprehension. Ironically, it did not improve my assignment completion rate at all. When my counselor lamented the failure of the speed reading course, I explained to her that I wasn't finishing the assigned books because they sucked! Many thanks to Whitman-Hanson High School for the great speed reading course. I still use those skills today. LOL
     
  21. xxtake_controlxx
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    xxtake_controlxx Member

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    I agree with everything; speed reading is generally better if you want the idea of the text rather than a large amount of details.

    At the same time, I have a tendency to read very quickly, though I'm not really sure why. I always have. And the better the book, the quicker I read (and surprisingly, I have a relatively high comprehension rate as well). But I can't read slowly, which is frustrating. When I try to read slowly to 'savor the book' or whatever, I get distracted and forget what I was reading. Which sucks when you go to a book store to buy books, and put down the short books because you know they are going to be a waste of money because you'll finish them in a few hours at most.

    That's why I've recently taken to reading classics; I read those at a slower rate because the language and sentence structure makes it a bit harder to get through then contemporary novels.
     
  22. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    I agree about reading for leisure, I don't think there's a point in rushing it. I tried doing some speed reading for some tests I have coming up...but sad to say, it doesn't really work. At least not for me. Slow and steady wins the race after all, but thanks for the advice anyway.
     
  23. burned_out
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    burned_out Member

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    Totally with you there. I never finished the Plague...didn't care for it much...

     
  24. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    It's actually really hard for me to read this forum because on a personal level, my natural reading skills allows me to read a 300 page book in about two hours to three, depending on the size of the print. That *isn't* speed-reading for me. It's the speed I read where I still truly absorb all parts of the novel. Even my sister thinks I'm speed-reading, but I'm not. And it can be aggravating when people say that I need to slow down and enjoy the book, because I already *am.* I can finish an 1000-page novel in about 7-8 hours...it's not a 'speed' thing for me...it's just how I read. ><

    Although I did notice that someone mentioned a couple of techniques and I use one of those naturally--my eyes don't bounce on text, they slide. I still pronounce all the words in my head, though, but I think very quickly so it's easy for me to pronounce those words fully at that speed.

    I could probably learn to read faster, but I'm fairly comfortable at my level of reading. I have to deal with two kinds of people when I read all ready--those who think I'm insane because I read so fast and others who think I can't possibly be reading all those words in the amount of time it actually takes me--so I see no reason to increase my reading speed further.

    ~Lynn
     
  25. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    It's my favourite novel- I thought it was beautiful. But still not an easy read.

    Now Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle? Reading fifty pages of either of them has taken me just about as long as The Plague.
     

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