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Old 1st Oct 2005, 3:10   #1
rick green
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Default Speed-reading

Does anybody here speed-read? Evidently, John & Jenn & Col do. How did you all manage the trick? I'm reading a book on it now. Hopefully I can pick up the pace and challenge you all for most books read next year. (I wish!) Right now I read between 25 & 30 pages per hour. How about everybody else? And has anyone trained themselves in sped-reading? If so, does it work?
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Old 1st Oct 2005, 6:00   #2
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Default Re: Speed-reading

I totally relate. Depending on the book, I think I'm about 25-30 pages per hour myself -- if it's a dense book, sometimes less. And I'm a pretty methodical reader; never skim and look up all the words I don't know in the dictionary, which slows things down considerably. I wish I was a faster reader, but whatcha gonna do!
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Old 1st Oct 2005, 8:28   #3
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Default Re: Speed-reading

I'm a 25-30 man myself. 25 for say, Middlemarch. 30 for everything less dense.

I don't believe in speed reading (don't believe it can be done rather than don't feel the need to practice it). There, i said it.
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Old 1st Oct 2005, 8:36   #4
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Default Re: Speed-reading

I'm not sure I speed read in the technical sense; when faced with something more dense, I'll slow up considerably but I can usually read about 50-60 pages an hour otherwise.

I don't think it's anything to do with reading since being tiny. I can run my eyes down the centre of a page and pick up more or less what is going on to either side - but that's skimming. When I'm reading properly, I'm not doing that but I'm aware that the unimportant words in a sentence are skimmed over.
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Old 1st Oct 2005, 11:41   #5
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Default Re: Speed-reading

Yes, speed-reading technically speaking is what Col describes, isn't it? Just fixing your eyes on one or two points per line and 'absorbing' what's on the rest of the line. I reckon I read about a page a minute for averagely not-too-challenging stuff, which would work out about 60 pages an hour. Less than that for Anna Karenina, for example. I never thought that was particularly fast but apparently it is! Again this may come down, as I said on the 100th Book thread, to the fact that most of what I read isn't desperately challenging (unlike, say, Rick's choices).
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Old 1st Oct 2005, 17:18   #6
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Default Re: Speed-reading

Blimey! It would never dawn on me to time my reading speed. By necessity, far too much life is lived with one eye on the clock as it is. While I can see the virtue of mastering speed-reading if you have to wade through reams of reports or are researching something, I can't for the life of me understand the desire to race through reading you do for pleasure only. Okay, if you've promised to return a book or are committed to passing comment by a certain date, then it's understandable. But if not, why rush something you purport to enjoy doing? I would rather treat pleasure-reading like food: if it's good then savour every mouthful and extend the pleasure; if it's not - leave it.

For me, the speed of reading is dictated purely by how much fun I'm having. Some books being so good, that I find I gradually gobble them faster and faster, and have to make a conscious effort to slow up and linger over the treasures (always a good move, I find). Others - the not-so-pleasurable ones - are, of course, a different matter. Then it's a case of having to force the concentration to stay focussed on the page and the reading speed slows to a painful crawl. Re-reading and re-reading the same bloody paragraph (something I'm doing with Saul Bellow at the moment) is a sure sign that either the book doesn't suit (and never will), or that it's the wrong one (as with Mr Bellow) for that time of day, that time of life, that set of circumstances. In which case, abandon now, but try again later.

ADD: Whoops - forgot to say that I do think some people (and I'm sure Col and John fall into this category) have superior concentration abilities than others, which must speed up their reading to a certain extent. But abilities aside, I see no merit or kudos in racing through book after book purely to demonstrate that you can. Reading is not, thank god, an olympic sport just yet! For myself, however, since my only chance to read is last thing at night, my concentration powers are decidedly dimmed by then - which is another reason why my palimp reading list is far more modest!

Last edited by HP; 2nd Oct 2005 at 18:57.
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Old 1st Oct 2005, 20:58   #7
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Default Re: Speed-reading

Everything that Honey said goes for me too - down to having had the same problem with Mr Bellow, even.

I tried timing my reading today, but I was so conscious of the passage of time, my concentration kept breaking. I suppose the result I came up with is 25 pages per hour. I think I read faster in my native language and much much slower in French. I bought Flaubert's Madame Bovary in original today and will be reading it after I've finished I, Claudius and Claudius the God. God only knows how long that will take, but I do prefer the original to the translation, whenever possible.

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Old 3rd Oct 2005, 21:58   #8
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Default Re: Speed-reading

Really tried to find out my reading speed, but have no idea. Depends a lot on the book, that for sure. I think I'm able to read very quickly, but I often take breaks after a few pages, look out of the window, think, things like that, so the average per hour isn't impressive at all, maybe 25-30, I hope that it's not lower... Still, I remember, a few years ago I got confused about the opening hours in the library and I really had to read one book for a class. I panicked and managed 200 pages in an hour... But that was adrenalin-induced one-time thing. And skimming of course. I don't read like that for pleasure. I too read faster in my native language but I'm prone to skimming which I almost don't do when I read in English.
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Old 3rd Oct 2005, 22:04   #9
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Default Re: Speed-reading

I'm going to be shocking and say that I also don't believe in speed-reading. Or rather that I don't really understand what people mean by it. I read around 100 pages in an hour (I actually don't need a clock when I'm reading, this varies so little) but every single word on the page passes into my brain. It's true that I don't spell out a word in my head or actually "hear" it in my head; I don't read at the pace one would read it out loud. But I'm certainly not missing bits out. I don't really understand, like I said, so this is actually pointless and very little help. Whoops.
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Old 4th Oct 2005, 1:41   #10
rick green
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Default Re: Speed-reading

100 & 200 pages in an hour!?! That's incredible. I wish I could...
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