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Old 03-16-2011, 03:30 AM   #1
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How to improve reading

In some threads there has been talk about how many books people read in one week and I'm just amazed at how people can read so fast. My wife reads one book a day if she wants to and I'm so jealous of her.

So I have been thinking if there is a trick to improve one's reading capabilities. What would be your trick to improve reading other than just to read? Are there any tricks?

I have never been a good reader and it takes me about a week to read a whole book. It seems to me that if I read too fast, half of what I read disappears somewhere so I need to slow down to allow the text to sink in.

Or should I update my processor?
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:23 AM   #2
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spaze, I hope you will get a lot of useful answers, but might I ask, why? Only, because many people here are fast readers? Then have a look at the other direction, there are many people more who don't even manage to read one book a week. It's no competition !
I'm a slow reader, too, and I take myself the time to allow the text to sink in, I really need it. I do envy fast readers, too, but I don't want to copy them, I know I'm not able to do so.

Last edited by Billi; 03-16-2011 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:41 AM   #3
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Originally I was a slow, methodical reader, and still am for my lifestyle/non-fiction books. In terms of fiction, I started slow, but the more I read, the quicker I became. Now I could read a 250 page book in a weekend - it still takes 10-14 hours. Longer books take, er, longer.

Here's a quick link I found with reasons for slow reading, and tips on improving - YMMV though. http://www.reachoutmichigan.org/learn/suggest.html

It's not the speed that counts, its your own comfortable pace. I find it annoying that some people I know could read a whole book an evening, yet the same book would take me 3-4 days. Go at the speed that's best for you, and ignore other people's speed.

IMO.
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:49 AM   #4
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I'm with Billi, why would you want to read fast? I sometimes read slowly, sometimes fast. But that speed is mostly dictated by the book. If I really *need* to finish that book, my speed will pick up (side effect: I can't put the book away). If the book itself is slow, so is my reading speed.

But while I won't ever read 100 books a year (as is apparently the goal for a lot of MR members), I'm happy if I can read a few pages every day.
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:05 AM   #5
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what's really important is that you understand what you're reading i too sometimes have to reread a few lines, or slow down, if i find myself reading too fast and not really enjoying the book
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:29 AM   #6
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I once, loooong time ago, bought a book about "speed-reading". TOTAL waste of money.
I'm a slow/fast reader depending on what I read. I could probably read 100 books a year, but have no interest in that. I like to remember the contents of what I read.
Also, depending on the language of the book.
My native Norwegian goes generally twice as fast as English. Danish and Swedish, although mutually intelligible with Norwegian goes slower than English, d.t that it's not what I am "used to" read.

And, as mentioned; what's the contents of the book. Right now I'm reading a book obtained for free during the "read an ebook-week". Since it is normally a pay-book I force myself to read it as it was given to me for free, although it is not "my type" of book. And it is very slow, I'm only half-way through after 6 days..
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:54 AM   #7
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I want to read faster because there are so many wonderful books waiting for me to read them, but I have so little time.
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spaze View Post
I want to read faster because there are so many wonderful books waiting for me to read them, but I have so little time.
in that case, all i can say is, practice makes perfect

but yeah, i know the feeling. there are so many books i want to read too
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spaze View Post
In some threads there has been talk about how many books people read in one week and I'm just amazed at how people can read so fast. My wife reads one book a day if she wants to and I'm so jealous of her.

So I have been thinking if there is a trick to improve one's reading capabilities. What would be your trick to improve reading other than just to read? Are there any tricks?

I have never been a good reader and it takes me about a week to read a whole book. It seems to me that if I read too fast, half of what I read disappears somewhere so I need to slow down to allow the text to sink in.

Or should I update my processor?
I'm a slow reader as well. I can skim and get through things but I'm sure I miss stuff when I do.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:14 AM   #10
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I'm one of those that CAN read very fast when/if I want to.
Many crime novels I speed read through, cause the plot is the most important and I can get that even when when speed reading (a quick glance at a page, I take it in as a "whole" and grasp what it's about without reading the actual individual words).
Many books I don't WANT to speed read though. I want to savour the language, make my own mental picture, let it linger a bit... I may read a chapter, put the book down for hours (or until the next day) to let that chapter sink in. Some books can take a really long time to finish for me!
When I'm reading one of those "slow" books I often read a couple of "quick" ones in between when I don't feel like I have the right amount of concentration to give (a James Patterson here, some chic-lit there, maybe a collection of essays...)
I'm with the others, enjoy your reading, whatever speed you're doing it in! Don't compare with others. Maybe your "double time" means double fun?!

Last edited by Asawi; 03-16-2011 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:13 AM   #11
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It took me a long time to be able to read like I do... and as it is I can do a book in a week... that is fast compared to some, and slow with others... but it is right for me.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:36 AM   #12
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I'm a slow reader as well. I can skim and get through things but I'm sure I miss stuff when I do.
True. I know a lot of persons who are speed readers but after a book is finished all they now are the main chars and who won at the end.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:53 AM   #13
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Remember speed does not necessarily = enjoyment of what you read.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:57 AM   #14
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Spaze, you could not possibly be a slower reader than I was. I'm dyslexic. One definition that I just read is;
"Dyslexia is a broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or accuracy in being able to read, speak, and spell."

I have no problem learning at all, and at one time had become a MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer - network administrator).

My problem is with words and letters. A d may look like a b to me. A c like an o to me, etc. On top of that, words can often appear, to me, quite different than what they really are. That's probably the cause of my odd sense of humor.

But back to the point. When I was about 10 - 11 I timed myself while reading a paperback book. This is no BS - it took me an hour to read from the top of one page to the bottom of the back of the page!

My saving grace was finding a book by Andre Norton that really caught my interest. Over the years I've gotten a lot faster. When Interview With A Vampire came out I read the entire book in just over two days. And that was with going to work, too.


In that article Factors that Reduce Reading Rate I have, or had, just about all of the problems. But the article is intended for students who need to study. I can now skim through text books and get the information I need. But for reading pleasure I take my time. Unless, that is, the books is a real page turner. There are a few books that I've read in a couple of days with full enjoyment, though.

As people keep saying enjoy what you're reading and don't worry about how many books there are to be read. After all, they keep making more of them so you'll never read all the books that you want to.


SIDE NOTE - When I was about 12 I started to stutter. I cured myself of that by reading my books aloud. I'm certainly not be a professional audiobook reader, but I read much better aloud than anyone I know.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:02 AM   #15
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But then again I see you are posting to me from Finland in English, and I personally can't learn a foreign language to save my life. So you may not think yourself a good reader, but you obviously have skills that I lack.

Just enjoy your books and read a little everyday.
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