Friday, December 18, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Speed

12.17.2009 Speed
Q:What do you think of speed-reading? Is it a good way to get through a lot of books, or does the speed-reader miss depth and nuance? Do you speed-read? Is some material better suited to speed-reading than others?

A:As far as speed reading goes it takes me back to college. I took a speed reading class because it was the last reading class that I had not taken that the college offered. I distinctly remember the beginning of the class that the professor was going through what the most valuable tools of speed reading are. The best use for speed reading is text books, mostly educational. For various reasons one being that most students minds would zone out after reading so much that the brain was not really absorbing all of the valuable information. The key to speed reading is training your mind to scan the page and take in the key points: first photos and the side notes. Then briefly read over the page taking note of dates and key sentences. The trick is that you have to train your mind into not reading the side of the pages and exclude words such as: and, at, the etc. The basic words many people over read which slows you down. My professor had us take a timed test, scan the page then read as fast as we could. Immediately we would take a quiz on what we just read. Then calculate the words per a minute from that we would identify what was slowing the words per a minute down. I found for myself that I was over reading and reading the white part of the paper, the side portion. An easy trick for that was cover it up with a darker piece of paper. It kept my eyes from wandering there and focusing on the written words. I did find the skills I learned helpful with my later years studying but....I NEVER do it for my pleasure reads.

What is the point of reading for pleasure if you do not enjoy every aspect of the book? If you speed read it you are retaining a skeleton of information not the actual full in depth details. I do feel though that what some might feel is their normal pace but is technically considered a "speed reader" is more than possible. My husband is one of "them" where he is a speed reader technically but if you can read that fast and comprehend to the fullest then I do not really see it as speed reading more like a speedy reader. Everyone one reads at different paces some novels I enjoy taking my time on because I will never be able to read it again for the first time. I want to enjoy and savor every word I read.


  1. That's really interesting. There are times when I could read faster-- I hear of other book bloggers who go through a book a day, and I consider it a true accomplishment if I finish a book a week. If only I could read faster, because there are SO many books I want to read. My TBR list is getting incredibly long. So many good stories out there.

    But you make a good point about truly absorbing a story, and also the fact that you'll never read a book for the first time again. I'll try to remember that as I'm slogging through something at my slow pace!

    Laura Hartness
    The Calico Critic

  2. I am one of those people who reads fast naturally. I don't scan or skim.

    I dint think you can absorb alot when skimming.

  3. I completely agree, Lizzy. I never speed read! I don't want to miss anything, and I love picking up on alllll the little details the book has to offer. :)

  4. Laura I am posting my reading challenges this Tuesday and I think I am up to at least 50 unread books. The scary part is I became obsessed with historical fiction almost 2 years ago now so I have not been at it too long. I can just imagine how my TBR list will look in a few more years from now. I think the one book I really wish I could reread again for the first time was Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Such a good book.

    I know bluestockings has to be a speedy reader I have noticed you do read so many books which I can completely respect. I just can not keep up.

    Figures Allie once again we are so alike.

  5. Totally agree Lizzy! I sometimes feel insecure when I see other bloggers reading a book every day, but if I tried to do that I would miss so many good things. HF is to be savored and relished, like a good pice of chocolate cake!

  6. Choco cake indeed, I love chocolate. I just do what I can and try not to stress about it to much everyone has their own pace. Even my husband out reads me but hey what you going to do? Nothing and accept it.


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