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Old 02-25-2010, 01:21 AM   #1
tsantsa
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Reading speed

I am a rather slow reading. Not for lack of intellect, but for lack of tolerance for missing something. I think.

I have a friend (attorney by trade) who is a good reader and reads very well. He also reads very quickly. I can't remember the details, but he explained that he read some hefty book in about nil seconds (one of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series comes to mind) while I explained that it took me weeks to finish said book. We started talking about plot points and little things we liked/disliked. He mentioned that some details do seem to escape him from his reading speed.

I went on about how I wished I could read faster so that I could read more. He said he envied me for being able to soak in detail.

So, should I try to speed up my reading with the potential of losing some detail, or just leave it as is and soak it in?
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:05 AM   #2
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I read very slow as well.. I also do a lot of dictionary look-ups, as English is my second language.

I read every word, and if a sentence doesn't make sense to me, I read it again... This happens quite often...

I don't mind me reading slow as I find I get a lot out of the book, and it's bound to save me money in the long run...
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:08 AM   #3
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You should read however you enjoy it best!

I am a fast reader -- I kind of envy you. I typically finish most books in 1-3 days. For a book I absolutely loved, it's over so quick. Even though we read the same words, it just feels like you get a better value!

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Old 02-25-2010, 03:27 AM   #4
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I read very slowly when I'm tired... I often reread whole pages... (but when that happens, I generally turn off my reader and go to sleep )


I'm a fast reader, and I think your friend is right that you might miss some details. Maybe that's why I like to re-read my books.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:35 AM   #5
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I still find details the second of third time around, that I have missed (probably the 'understanding of')
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsantsa View Post
I am a rather slow reading. Not for lack of intellect, but for lack of tolerance for missing something. I think.

I have a friend (attorney by trade) who is a good reader and reads very well. He also reads very quickly. I can't remember the details, but he explained that he read some hefty book in about nil seconds (one of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series comes to mind) while I explained that it took me weeks to finish said book. We started talking about plot points and little things we liked/disliked. He mentioned that some details do seem to escape him from his reading speed.

I went on about how I wished I could read faster so that I could read more. He said he envied me for being able to soak in detail.

So, should I try to speed up my reading with the potential of losing some detail, or just leave it as is and soak it in?
I read fast. But sometimes, if the book is VERY detailed and interesting, I slow down.

But I believe the *BEST* way to read a book is at the reading speed that is MOST comfortable for you. The more comfortable you are with your reading speed, the more you will enjoy the story and the happier you will be.

Now this doesn't quite apply if you *HAVE* to read a set number of pages in a given time frame - such as if you're reading to meet a class deadline.

Derek
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:49 AM   #7
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phonetics vs word recognition

I am one of the fastest readers that I know. I also notice that when I do not read every day my reading speed does slow down.

I also read by word recognition, which I believe lends itself to reading faster. I am not as good at very detailed reading, instructions I have to read a number of times and reference as I am following. Book plots I manage much better!

I think its something of a learned skill, but also some natural ability comes into it. I have friends that can recognize a song by only a few bars of music, I have trouble remembering a band name or a song name even after being told a dozen times.

Amy
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:22 AM   #8
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In general, comprehension is an inverted-U-shaped curve. Read too slow or too fast and your comprehension drops. You can certainly train yourself to read faster, but as Amy said, it requires constant reinforcement.
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassanik View Post
I am one of the fastest readers that I know. I also notice that when I do not read every day my reading speed does slow down.

I also read by word recognition, which I believe lends itself to reading faster. I am not as good at very detailed reading, instructions I have to read a number of times and reference as I am following. Book plots I manage much better!

I think its something of a learned skill, but also some natural ability comes into it. I have friends that can recognize a song by only a few bars of music, I have trouble remembering a band name or a song name even after being told a dozen times.

Amy
Same here. Maybe that's why I find it very difficult to read long walls of text. Punctuation, the build of the sentence, paragraph breaks, etc, are very important to me. And is also why I often update the structure of an ebook.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:06 PM   #10
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I am a fast reader too but I don't feel as though I am missing out on anything.

I will admit, that in school, I was one of those people that wanted to smack those kids when reading out loud that stumbled through stories. I know it isn't right, but my mind and mouth moves much faster and it was so hard for me to not move ahead without teacher noticing and getting POed
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:11 PM   #11
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it depends what I'm reading.

Most genre fiction is formalistic. You can spot and skip forward pages of filler and not miss any of the salient details of the story.

Of course, you sometimes have to skip back too
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:15 PM   #12
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Yeah, for me it depends as well.

I'll read much faster if I'm reading some fantasy series etc. than if I'm reading a classic, reading non-fiction, reading academic research for work etc.

It all depends on how much I want to absorb the stuff. Fanatasy, or other light fiction, I'm just reading for the story, to see what happens--with some exceptions like Lord of the Rings or other books that are really, really well written. But I NEVER skip pages etc. I just read less carefully and faster.

With a great piece of literature I want to absorb the writing etc. Non-fiction goes slower as they just don't tend to be page turners, often don't have the great flow of language--with exceptions of course (David McCulloughs work is great).

Academic research I'm trying to learn something that I can cite to make an article I'm writing stronger, or looking for flaws in the study I can improve upon on my own etc. And I'm also highlighting, scribbling notes in the margins etc. So this goes slower than the other reading I do.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:20 PM   #13
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I found this on-line test which is interesting. It measures reading speed and comprehension, and gives a kind of scale to measure against.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:49 PM   #14
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Most genre fiction is formalistic. You can spot and skip forward pages of filler and not miss any of the salient details of the story.
I have to read every word - I just couldn't bring myself to skip, it wouldn't feel right to me.

Filling in the gaps the writer leaves out is what I miss if I try reading quickly.
I end up 'watching' the story, rather than 'inhabiting' it.

Last edited by Sparrow; 02-25-2010 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:57 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the replies!

Back in schooling whenever I had to be tested (state, regional, whatever) I always excelled at comprehension. It never dawned on me that it may be because of my slower reading speed. Though I do remember now that at one time, I did read rather quickly. One time I read Stephen King's The Stand in about a single 24 hour period. I was about 14 or 15 at the time...

What sort of material should I begin with (other than pleasure reading) to increase speed while maintaining comprehension? Start simple I presume, but what? Hamlet? ;> j/k!
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