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Old 10-23-2013, 01:26 AM   #1
arturg
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How to read faster?

Hello all,

During my life I have managed to read only four books. By this I mean four fiction books that I really enjoyed, school reading is excluded.

One reason I think is that I struggle with reading because it seems so slow to me. I really do enjoy reading a good story and I always get involved with the book when I start one, but it usually takes me about a month to complete a normal fiction book of about 400 pages.

My wife read the complete Hunger Games trilogy in just a week. I would love to do this and I have asked my wife how she does it and she can't really explain.

I have noticed that when I read, I tend to "hear" the words in my mind and sometimes my lips are moving as well. I have read that in order to make reading faster I have to keep my mouth busy to stay away from using my mouth to read. So I tend to chew gum when I read and this helps to some extend. Next I tried to glimse through the text instead of really reading each word with thought, but then I seem to miss half of the text and not catch the idea of phrases.

So my question to you "pro" readers out there, is there a way to improve my reading so that one day perhaps I could read a book in two or three days? There are so many books I would love to read but I get discouraged when I know it would take me two years to read all books I have currently interest toward.

Now that Hunger Games: Catching Fire is about to come to movies, I started reading the first episode of the book and love it. I didn't know a book can take you in so deeply into the story emotionally. I'm about to start my third week reading it and have about third left of the book.

Thank you for your tips and for reading this post

- Artur
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:27 AM   #2
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Hi Artur, welcome to MR!

I am sure other members here will come up with great recommendations. Unfortunately I can't help you. I'm only answering to show you that you're not alone, that there are other slow readers around.

Sometimes I envy other members here who seem to fly through the books but I learned to accept that this is not me. I become too superficial if I increase my reading speed. And at the moment I'm glad if I can steal one hour each day for reading. I want to enjoy this time, not make it a competition.

Last edited by Billi; 10-23-2013 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:46 AM   #3
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I suppose you could look for techniques and things like that but I think it's mostly down to each individual how fast they are able to read, and we're all different. Reading is for enjoyment, not some kind of race really.

I've never "heard" the words when I read, have always been a fairly fast reader (which can be a bit of a PITA at times) and have been reading a lot ever since I was a kid so I cant really explain why. What I do know is that the more I enjoy a book, the faster I go through it.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:03 AM   #4
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Arturg, because of a perceived problem i had all of my employees tested for reading. All were high school graduates and some had college. They could all read but a little over 25% were what the specialist called functionally illiterate and many said they didn't read because it was so slow and took so long.

So, we had classes. Two people were identified as having dyslexia. Amazingly, they'd gone through high school without a problem. I think the reason was they played football really well.

Every single person who took the class improved their reading. They read faster and had better comprehension. They went from reading word by word to reading in groups of words.

I love to read but I can't really remember not enjoying reading. My father used to scream, "Put the damn book down and go out and play ball." I hated ball. Still do.

One other small point. I was in the fifth grade when I discovered reading books I wanted to read was a great deal more fun than reading books I had to read. I was in a reading group and each year we had to read a book that the corollary group demanded we read. That would be the wive's group. That book was always a chore.

Our instructor in the reading class touched on speed reading. He said, "I can deal with this book in about three minutes." He picked up a huge book, read about two pages, and said, "I don't want to read this." He said that was the only "speed reading" strategy that really works.

Two suggestions: Contact a local community college or university and find someone who can test for various reading disabilities. I have an auditory disability--in my brain--that interferes with hearing languages.

Then, find things you enjoy reading and read. Always have a book with you and when you have to wait ten minutes for your IRS audit, read.

Another thought. My neighbor said, "Pat, your kids read and Richie won't."

"Chuck, you brag about not having read a book since high school and Richie wants to be like Dad."

'"I just don't like reading."
"Yes, you do. You read "Field and Stream" magazine. You read hunting and fishing magazines. Have Richie sit with you and read to each other."

He told me it worked.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:17 AM   #5
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I think that speed reading is dumb. What I do encourage is to read slightly faster than you are comfortable with to force yourself to be engaged in the act of reading and not let your mind wander. I think that unintentional wool gathering is the real thing that slows people down and not vocalization.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:25 AM   #6
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I think that vocalisation is a problem, in that it's forcing the OP to read at the speed he can talk at. Try to force yourself not to "read out loud", and see if that helps.

As with anything else, reading is a skill that improves with practice. The only way to read more quickly is to read more. It won't happen overnight.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:49 AM   #7
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If it really bothers you to the extent (as it would seem) that you really want to read more fluently, so it is less of a chore, or hard work, participation in reading classes designed to help this would definitely be a worthwhile step.

It doesn't take much to get over that invisble border between hard work and enjoyment, and a few tips and exercises may be all that's needed.
It really is like riding a bike - most people can do it OK, some can do it superbly, a small number can't/won't do it at all !
But once you learn, you never forget !

So why not give it a try ?

Then, naturally, you might end up like most MobileReaders seem to be - hardly without words to read, in whatever format .......

'Course, life will be a bit more expensive then .......
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:14 PM   #8
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Artur, here's a great article about training yourself to read faster: http://www.mindtools.com/speedrd.html

If you practice trying to break bad reading habits such as sounding out words (subvocalization) as you are now doing and make a conscious effort to practice reading faster, you should improve your reading speed very quickly.

I trained myself to speed read many years ago by reading newspaper articles as fast as I could and trying to remember what I had read. At first, I didn't remember much of what I was reading but I improved daily until I became a very fast reader. It's a skill that has served me very well over the years.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I think that vocalisation is a problem, in that it's forcing the OP to read at the speed he can talk at. Try to force yourself not to "read out loud", and see if that helps.

As with anything else, reading is a skill that improves with practice. The only way to read more quickly is to read more. It won't happen overnight.
Yes.
My husband has the same problem. He reads really slowly because he has to "read out loud" in his head so he never surpasses the speed in which he could actually read the text out loud - and that's pretty slow.
I showed him this homepage which is supposed to help practice faster reading by hindering you to read out loud. My husband never really tried it so he still reads reeeeally slowly. But I think if you tried and practiced with it that it could really help. I'm convinced that you first need to stop "reading out loud" and then it's just a matter or practice.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:36 PM   #10
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One of the things that can also greatly help is to group words together. This is not difficult to do; it just takes some practice. Try this: I think you'll already "feel" the difference in reading these sentences.

Quote:
A. If... you... now... read... like... this...., you.... will.... be... very.... slow.

B. You can... double your.... speed by.... reading two... words at... a time.

C. Later on you... can even read.... three or more.... words at once.

D. At some point...., you will group words together logically...., which increaes your speed.... even more. You will even.... start to recognize patterns...., that occur over and over... gaining additional speed.... because you don't read.... the entire pattern.... anymore.
(edit: the MindTools link mentions this grouping also.)

This is an example with regard to a pattern. In the Baldur's Gate II role-playing game, and in some Forgotten Realms novels, there is a dragon called Nizidramanii'yt. The pronounciation is "NIZI-Drama-NI-Hi-Yet". Do you think I actually *READ* that word (name) each time I see it?

Same with a city, from the same setting: Suldanesselar. ("Sul-Da-NESSE-Lar".) Reading such words by recognition instead of reading them out loud gains a lot of speed at some point. In the beginning, your reading will be slower when you start a new book, as you need to remember all the strange names and places (especially if you read fantasy/science-fiction), but at some point, you just "see" the names and read right over them.

As you have already determined yourself, the greatest barrier in doing this is needing to actually "say" the words in your mind while reading. Then you will read word for word, which will be really slow, especially if the words are very long or unfamiliar.

Last edited by Katsunami; 10-23-2013 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:46 PM   #11
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Is sub-vocalisation necessarily bad? I do it and I manage to read a book every week or so, reading about an hour a day. I guess it depends on how fast you sub-vocalise, but I would not want to read any other way. The voice in my head is like a friend narrating the story to me, and helps to immerse me in the fictional world.
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:59 PM   #12
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Is sub-vocalisation necessarily bad? I do it and I manage to read a book every week or so, reading about an hour a day. I guess it depends on how fast you sub-vocalise, but I would not want to read any other way. The voice in my head is like a friend narrating the story to me, and helps to immerse me in the fictional world.
I'm kinda with you there....I've taken a speed reading course (ages ago) and know the techniques, but feel like I'm missing something if I read that fast without taking time to savor and absorb it.

Now I fully expect objections to the above so go ahead.
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:12 PM   #13
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Is sub-vocalisation necessarily bad? I do it and I manage to read a book every week or so, reading about an hour a day. I guess it depends on how fast you sub-vocalise, but I would not want to read any other way. The voice in my head is like a friend narrating the story to me, and helps to immerse me in the fictional world.
No, it's not necessarily bad; it simply slows down your reading. Whether that's good or bad is something you have to decide for yourself.
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:30 PM   #14
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Thank you all for your responses. I tried spreeder and I was comfortable with about 190 wpm. I made my wife do the test and she was able to read comfortably at 550 wpm which I see as amazing.

It's not that I'm having a race, it's more like "So many book to read, such a slow reader..."
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:36 PM   #15
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I hear the words in my mind and I read at a moderate pace (I think.) It depends on the books, but for 1,000 pages it is probably two to three weeks for me if I can get an hour in a day.

I probably read about the same pace as you and don't think that is necessarily slow.
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