Up until about a month and a half ago I read a lot. Probably not as much as some people. But I’d knock out a good book about every week. It’d take me between 1-2 days for a graphic novel sized comic book(aka: trades, trade paperbacks or ‘collected editions’ for those who are more ‘into’ comics). I consider myself a pretty fast reader. Or at least faster than average, but I figure it was just because I read so much. My main problem is retention. After I’m done reading something, I tend to feel like I retained about half of it. And half is not so good.
Yesterday I came across an article from lifehacker on my twitter feed(that’s @lifehacker if you want to follow it. I’m a fan.) and was immediately sucked in. Here’s the article: http://pianoer.wordpress.com/2006/02/05/speed-reading-techniques/
Anyway, it talks about some tips and tricks to get you started. So I looked into it more and more and here’s what I found in a nutshell:
1. Sub-vocalization seems to be a big hindrance. 95% of what I found so far has said this is the main problem when you’re trying to
read faster than average. Basically, it’s the voice in your head that ‘speaks’ the words as you read them. The problem is: it can only really go as fast as you can read out loud. And that’s where nearly all of us plateau in our reading speed.
2. On average, people read somewhere between 200-250 words per minute. That’s somewhere right about a page per minute. Depending on things like page and text size, of course.
3. Most speed-reading things I’ve read have claimed that ‘average’ speed-readers clock in at somewhere close to 1000 wpm.
4. Contrary to how we’d assume. Most things I’ve read say that speed-reading techniques actually improve retention of what you’re reading. Somewhere in the range of 10-25% Seeing how the average retention rate is somewhere between 60-70% That right there is enough to get me on board.
Fascinating stuff. If you’re me, I guess. Other’s might not think so. Anyway, I kept looking.
I’ve taken a couple different speed reading tests I’ve found on the internet. And it looks like, after averaging the two, my base speed is right around 320 wpm. A bit higher than ‘average’ but not crazy fast. So I’m going to look into trying to up that. Doubling it would be fantastic. Hitting 1000 wpm would be awesome. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve even signed up for one of the free courses to see how it goes. If it goes well, I’ll let you know that as well.
Now, how is this going to ‘save my marriage’? The truth is, that’s being a little steep. Also, ‘So I might try to read faster’ isn’t a title that screams ‘READ ME’. But ask my wife what one of her biggest ‘problems’ is with me, and I imagine that ‘He reads WAY too much.’ is probably in her ‘Top 3’. I figure if I can get through something 2-3 times faster while at the same time retaining more information. Why would I not do that? Plus, the way I see it, I can hammer through it, and have more time to put the book down before my lady even walks into the room. Saving frustration on both our parts. Win-win, baby.
If you want to look up some of the other places I was reading these things(because, as of yet, I still don’t retain things very well, and could be pulling most of these numbers from anywhere) check out the rest of these sites:
or just type in ‘speed read’ into wikipedia. You’re all smart people. You’ve got the internet. Use it!
Side note: I finished the second draft of the script I’ve been working on with my collaborator. Feels good. I’ve written about 5000 words over the last few days just for that. That’s not even including the blog posts and such. But I’ve pumped out a resounding zero for my novel. I’m not thrilled at that progress, but it’s hard to complain with a word count that high. But now that this project won’t have to be so word heavy(barring any unforeseen, and massive edits, that is) I should be able to focus more of that energy into my novel.
I think that’s all I’ve got in me today. Time to round out the day with a little Breaking Bad and then try to mentally prepare for the three day, day-job-desert that is my weekend. Cheers, folks!