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Off Topic Chat > Reading without sub-vocalizing

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message 1: by Petit Chocobo (new)

Petit Chocobo (petitchocobo) | 1 comments Hello everyone!
So I just realized than even though I read a lot, I am apparently a "slow" reader. I used a timer while reading Destined for Doon last night and realized that it takes me about a whole hour to read only 50 pages (and the font is quite big in Doon)... So I took one of those speed reading test on the internet and I read about 250 words a minute (and I have to admit I hurried myself a little during the test... I was overthinking it I guess).
And I started to wonder why I was so slow when I was actually reading as fast as I could, and how could anyone possibly read faster than that?!

Well it turns out I subvocalize... Meaning as I read in my head I actually "pronounce" /"read aloud" in my head with my voice, if that makes any sense. Which of course slows down dramatically your reading speed because you end up reading at the same speed that you would speak.

And I tried all these different techniques this evening that should "eliminate" that habit, but I JUST CAN'T! It seems like I'm uncapable of understanding words without hearing them, worse I don't even choose to read a word "aloud' in my head, I just do it automatically! If I ever see a word I'll automatically "pronounce"/"hear" it in my head! I've been trying to get rid of that the whole evening, giving myself a huge headache and a sudden fear that I might be not normal...? I'm reading a cute YA contemporary at the moment and used it as a test, if I try to just move my eyes along the lines without "reading aloud" in my head I just don't catch anything and finish the page without any ideas of what was written....

I have to add also that as a kid I had huge issues with learning how to read and reading comprehension in general (the primary school teacher I had even told my parents I would never be able to read properly or even finish school because of that... well guess who has a master degree in English now!), even once I could read I was unable to comprehend a text so the specialist I used to see at the time taught me to concentrate on each word and stop after each sentence to try and understand and assimilate what I just read, which is why I guess I have this habit of really paying attention to each word and read them "aloud" in my head, and if I don't do that I just don't catch anything of what I "read". Hell I don't even know how to read without hearing the words... Aren't "seeing" words and "reading" them different??

Tell me I'm not the only one! This bugs more than it should do I know but I can't help but think something must be wrong in my brain... : /

Also English is not my first language, and I've been reading exclusively in English for the past 9-10 years, and I don't know if I have the same problem when reading in French, so I should try that...

: (

PS: I'm not even sure if I post this in the right place... : /

message 2: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 14700 comments I do that too, Ambre-Marine, and am also a slow reader because of it. I took a speed reading class once where they teach you how to read by using your finger to underline the words just ahead of your eyes to make your eyes go faster. It helped, but I always felt a little silly using my finger to read and it didn't work on my Kindle, so I always ended up reverting to my old ways.

I was an early and advanced reader with excellent comprehension skills as a child, so that was not a problem for me and I don't think they're necessarily related. I think it's just a bad habit and the way I enjoy reading.

I would suggest trying a book in French to see how it goes for you. I would imagine that trying to break the habit in your second language would be more difficult.

message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisathebooklover) | 9244 comments I do that, Amber-Marine.

message 4: by Mariab (new)

Mariab | 3059 comments Lisa wrote: "I do that, Amber-Marine."

Me too, but only in language which aren't my mother tongue

message 5: by Sandra, Moderator (new)

Sandra (sanlema) | 9621 comments Well, I got curious and tested my self on line. Now I feel bad...

200 wpm in Spanish (my native language)
194 wpm in English
120 wpm in Portuguese

I am a snail!

message 6: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 2668 comments I do this, too. But you know what, I don't really care if I read more slowly than some other people. I enjoy reading. I took a speed reading class years ago, and it was a failure. I could make myself read faster by sort of skimming, but my comprehension suffered, and so did my level of engagement. My eldest kid was always a very fast reader, but sometimes she missed subtle but important points in a story. If reading is something you enjoy, why would you want to rush through it?

message 7: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20546 comments I am positive that I do it too, but I feel the same way as Casceil. I love the sound of the words when they are put together artfully.
I read poetry out loud, just for this reason too.

There are times when I get anxious to finish a long book, but most of the time I don't care how long it takes.

message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 18213 comments I know I do this too. I do not want to read faster for my fiction books that I enjoy. As Casceil says, I read for enjoyment so I don't want to speed up. I think I read reasonably quickly despite the sub vocalising. However, I would like to read quicker on non fiction and stuff that I read for work. So being able to switch things up a little would be good it that area but obviously I wouldn't want to lose the comprehension.

message 9: by Margo (new)

Margo | 10160 comments I became severly dyslexic at age 38 as a result of brain injury. I have lost the pleasure of picking up a book and becoming immersed in it. Now I listen to audio books or do kindle books with the aid of text-to-speech reader. I still enjoy stories and beautiful language but not reading.

Whatever way you read, enjoy it - you don't realise what a treasure it is :-))

message 10: by Sandra, Moderator (new)

Sandra (sanlema) | 9621 comments I agree about pleasure reads. I do not want to read faster really. I wish I had more free time to read, though, but that is a different issue. :)

As Sarah says, it is a concern when it comes to study. In one of the websites I tested my speed read it was mention that it is recommended to be able to read 450 wpm if you plan to attend college. Of course the courses they sell promised to help in the speed AND the comprehension. Never did anything like that, so I can't say.

message 11: by KimeyDiann (new)

KimeyDiann | 2174 comments I'm not sure how to read without hearing the words in my head. I think I can glance at a sign or something and I know what it says without reading it aloud in my head, but I'm not really sure. I'm hyper aware of it right now so I don't know if I actually can do that or not. lol. But reading books or posts on GR, I read the words aloud and my mind. When I'm typing out posts I'm saying the words aloud in my mind then too.

message 12: by Cody (last edited Nov 17, 2017 12:58PM) (new)

Cody | 348 comments i am like a lot of other people here, perhaps i would like to read faster for work but i think i like to read for pleasure without vocalising.

i cannot imagine reading 'run you fools' and it not being in ian mckellans voice and i have my own depending on the description of the person / their actions.

surely someone that reads 3 words in front and does not actually read the words cant have that? i dont know though, do we have any particularly fast readers in the group?

@ambre i am fairly sure you read faster in english than i do in french unless of course i am reading directions to the bakers - gcse english 101

message 13: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20546 comments Cody wrote: "i cannot imagine reading 'run you fools' and it not being in ian mckellans voice and i have my own depending on the description of the person / their actions..."

Oh, Cody - that made me laugh so hard! I am glad I am not the only one who reads and hears other people's voices in my head.

I started an old Zane Gray western book last week, and kept noticing a voice, but I could not figure out the name of the guy. I think his name was Rex Allen. He used to narrate a lot of the old Walt Disney TV shows.

message 14: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (fiiicoooo) | 270 comments I just came across this and of course I had to try it out:

German 230 wpm
English 202
Spanish 129
Dutch 119
French 116

I also read with my voice in my head. I know how to read without it and I know that I am faster that way but I only use this technique to read something for uni :D

message 15: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) | 6542 comments I do the same thing. I'm not sure how fast I read, but at times it FEELS slow. I do know that things go faster for me when I don't have to stumble over the pronunciation of bigger words, or foreign (to me) places, names, things. I stop and try to pronounce difficult words in my head, which interrupts my rhythm.

But hey, I'm not in any contest to read fast... well, except Topplers. I read for enjoyment, for the most part, so whatever speed I require for the best comprehension is fine with me. We have enough things to worry about without adding how fast we read to the list. Just enjoy the pleasure of it!

message 16: by Jenn (new)

Jenn | 2415 comments I agree completely Debra. When I was younger I was a prolific reader, and quite quick. But someone in my life (not anymore) used shame and guilt to shred my confidence and self worth, and in the process I stopped reading. It took along time to come back to the library of life, but I truly believe that doing what you enjoy is always more important than anything that anyone else may have to say about it.

message 17: by Renee (new)

Renee (elenarenee) | 1633 comments I enjoy the voices in my head. LOL I just heard what I wrote. In any conversation but this one I would sound insane.

message 18: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 887 comments I do this too.And initially,like 2 /3 years ago,when I became aware all this speed reading tests available online and realized that I was a slow reader.I tried not to subvocalize too.I wondered if I must speed read.If it is something one needs.Then ,I realized I loved reading slowly.Savoring thw qords and sentemces in my head.Sometimes when I love a sentence or a para from a book ,be it cozy or otherwise,I like to linger and savor it,to reread it,simply enjoy it.So,I too don't really care what sort of a reader I am ,as long as I get to read lots and lots of books.

message 19: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 887 comments Renee wrote: "I enjoy the voices in my head. LOL I just heard what I wrote. In any conversation but this one I would sound insane."

Then,you are among the right group of people,as we all have voices in the head, sometimes even many voices ;p

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