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Speed reading

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message 1: by Dodd (new)

Dodd | 127 comments These topics about how much reading one does or how long books are got me thinking about this.

I remember seeing ads for the "systems" that trained people to read quickly, scanning pages in fifteen seconds, chapters in five minutes.

I always wondered if they really worked. especially in college when I had a lot of stuff to read.

There is an appealing logic to the suggestion that one can absorb massive amounts of information if the mind and attention are focused and trained. And then there are the photographic-memory savants that can memorize a page of phone numbers and names in thirty seconds who make it seem like you could read Dostoyvesky in a day.

Anybody ever take this training and did it work?


message 2: by grantonio (new)

grantonio | 24 comments I have read several articles on it and it seems to be a myth. When reading for comprehension (not skimming) people tend to read at surprisingly similiar rates, generally within 50% of each other. What separates people is comprehension.

I tend to be a quite slow reader, although I find that my speed is increasing noticeably as I've been reading more over the past few months. I console myself by thinking that I do tend to remember a lot of what I've read. Hey, for me, reading is pure pleasure. Any time I feel like I need to push through something to log a certain amount - then it would no longer be fun.


message 3: by Nate (new)

Nate (gueuze) | 13 comments One time at B&N, they had the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading course book. I've looked it over a few times and tried some of the methods.

If you were to use it daily in your reading, then you would start to really increase your reading and comprehension speed/capacity.

For me, the way I would use it most like reading a newspaper quickly or some meeting notes doesn't come up as frequently as my need to read highly technical materials (with formulas, graphs, data tables, etc.) or the desire to relax and enjoy a book. Maybe if I practiced more, but I haven't put forth the effort yet.


message 4: by Brandon (new)

Brandon (bbbrr) | 18 comments Speed reading is a joke. It works on the preposterous assumption that words and the ideas they signify can be absorbed as is they were colors, numbers, etc. A piece of writing (a decent one at least) is an expression of much more complex ideas, ideas that require TIME and CONTEMPLATION to fully absorb. The very act of reading should be an act of slowing down, of focusing on cognition, of allowing thoughts to unfold. Speed reading is like pounding a glass of Westy in 2 seconds and then rating it based on that experience (I figured I would put it in beer terms).


message 5: by Nate (new)

Nate (gueuze) | 13 comments Brandon, I agree that many forms of writing are like that, but not all. I can get the same information content reading most newspaper articles at a faster speed than as at a slower speed.

Even popular fiction. But scientific stuff, deep literature, poetry, etc. - there's so sense to reading fast.


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