Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday Discussions (3)

How fast do you read?

My co-worker and I both love to read. Lately we've been swapping books (part my endless--and slightly evil-- task to get everyone in the world reading YA) and I noticed something. She is a super fast reader. I gave her If I Stay by Gayle Forman and in four hours she was halfway through with this novel and this is including stopping breaks to you know, actually work. Now, I know this is a tiny novel to begin with but I was astounded at the sped she read.

I've always been a SUPER slow reader. I timed myself last night and in 38 minutes, I read 52 pages (with a few kitty interruptions, of course). Hench why I have so many books waiting to be read. Each book I pick up takes me anywhere from two to six days to complete.

It makes my goal of reading 100 books this year seem impossible but hey, a girl can dream.

My english teacher actually had a discussion about how to read faster in class one day. He nailed a problem I'd been experiencing for a long time. He said that most people are slower readers because they mouth along with the words they are reading. I've done that since I can remember! The brain is actually capable of reading faster than it is when forming the whole word that we've read. We can even fill in a lot of blank spaces so when we speed read, we don't actually need all the vowels.

Check this "vowel-less sentence" out:

“Geuss yn cn ndrstnd th ssnc fo th txt fi yuo raed ti ni eno lkoo . Raedng si th uaotmtaci sbstitnoi fo th mssng lttrs fr sns nd mnng.”

Did you get it?

What that said was:

"Guess you can understand this sentence of text if you read it in one look. Reading is the automatic substitution of the missing letters from sense and meaning."

But when we sit down and mouth out a lot of words, we are using extra brain power that we don't need. That's one reason why some of us are slower reading than others.

I happen to be one of those slow readers and while it's not necessarily a bad thing, I don't get half as much accomplished as I'd like to. 

So what about you? Every timed yourself while reading to see how fast you are? Do you do the mouthing thing like I try not to do?


  1. I'm actually on the other side of this from you - I read extremely quickly. Depending on the book, I know I can count at least page per minute (on something I really like, I can count on up to 150 pages per hour!) The thing is, it has to be a book that I really like, and it goes through phases. I will sometimes go through a burn-out period where I'm either in the middle of something that's only so-so, or when I don't have something I'm excited to read about, and I won't read hardly at all. So I guess what I'm saying is slow and steady isn't a bad thing!

  2. I'm opposite to you, I can read approximately 2 pages a minute, about 120 pages an hour. If i sit down for a big chunk of time say four hours I can usually finish a book and maybe start the next one. I once read 3 and a half books in a day (they were each about 280 pages so not overly long) but just sat and read.
    I still have a massive reading pile though, I tend to finish one then get two new ones so my pile never goes down.
    The only think that slows me down is if i'm not enjoying the book, then i tend to procrastinate and go slower, my brain switches off.

  3. Super post.

    I used to be slower, but then I took a Pro-Read course and they really showed us the tricks. It was amazing. I read about 600-700 words per minute. Try it, you won't understand a thing, but after practicing it, you realize how much you actually took from reading so fast.

    Your mouth problem was also on the Don't-do-List there. Another thing, you should read in chunks, rather than word per word. Your eyes can take in more than one word at a time. It helps to read something you don't care about, and practice reading it super fast. You don't have to worry about what getting it all, but after a while you will get more and more.

    I'm applying it to Uni work whenever I don't feel like this passage gives me enough, but I need to get through it.
    For my personal enjoyment reading, I read slower, because it's just hard to concentrate so much.
    Nahno ∗ McLein

  4. I have no idea how quickly I read. I think it depends on how focused I am. Sometimes, I catch myself stopping reading to think about what's been said or daydream about the story line some. :)

  5. I think I read even slower than you. In 38 minutes I'd probably manage about 25-28 pages. I read at about the same speed as I would read something aloud. I have tried and tried to read faster but my brain just doesn't take it in and I end up having to read it again anyway. I'm glad I'm not the only one who's slow though :D

  6. I consider myself a fast reader, but have never timed myself. My friend at work and I often share books we get from the library. You get 3 weeks and that is way too much time. I'm usually done with a book in less than a week. I think it stems from me learning English when I was 9 and all I did was read so I could have a better understanding of the language. I've been trying to teach my first grader to read without mouthing the words.

  7. I do mouth the words, I'd already noticed that and I'm a slower reader than you, in 38 minutes I read much less than you do! :)


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