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I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone to do a course on speed reading!  However, I'm not sure that all books deserve slow reading.  Being able to skim read (or just skip) is a huge advantage when you're reading a book which you enjoy, but which has boring bits, or sections which are candidates for Private Eye's Bad Sex Award.  It's also useful when the book is interesting but badly written.  I find it essential when I'm reading a book which I'm not really enjoying, but want to finish so that I can discuss it in my book group.

 

Cassandra Jardine, who used to write for the Telegraph, once mentioned in an article that she could only do 'mental reading', saying each word to herself as she read.  I knew that she read English at Cambridge, which involves reading a gigantic amount, and wondered how on earth she managed it.

 

Of course, slow reading is essential if you're really trying to understand what a book is saying (mainly non-fiction).

 

The other thing I do is re-reading.  If I enjoy a book I want to read it again and again, sometimes going straight to my favourite bits.  Most people in my book group say they hardly ever do this.  I suspect it's because I read very quickly, so I have time to read both old books and new books.

 

I am certainly sceptical of the claim that slow readers (may) read more.  Obviously if you schedule lots of reading time, rather than only reqading for 15 minutes during your commute, you'll read more!  However, for the same amount of time, fast readers are bound to read more.

 

What about you?

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7 minutes ago, Heather said:

I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone to do a course on speed reading!  However, I'm not sure that all books deserve slow reading.  Being able to skim read (or just skip) is a huge advantage when you're reading a book which you enjoy, but which has boring bits, or sections which are candidates for Private Eye's Bad Sex Award.  It's also useful when the book is interesting but badly written.  I find it essential when I'm reading a book which I'm not really enjoying, but want to finish so that I can discuss it in my book group.

 

Cassandra Jardine, who used to write for the Telegraph, once mentioned in an article that she could only do 'mental reading', saying each word to herself as she read.  I knew that she read English at Cambridge, which involves reading a gigantic amount, and wondered how on earth she managed it.

 

Of course, slow reading is essential if you're really trying to understand what a book is saying (mainly non-fiction).

 

The other thing I do is re-reading.  If I enjoy a book I want to read it again and again, sometimes going straight to my favourite bits.  Most people in my book group say they hardly ever do this.  I suspect it's because I read very quickly, so I have time to read both old books and new books.

 

I am certainly sceptical of the claim that slow readers (may) read more.  Obviously if you schedule lots of reading time, rather than only reqading for 15 minutes during your commute, you'll read more!  However, for the same amount of time, fast readers are bound to read more.

 

What about you?


I have aspired to learn to learn to speed read in the past because I felt that I wasn't reading nearly enough books in a year.  I do have a learn to speed read book but have never gotten around to actually learning, so this article was very interesting to me.  This year, as it turns out, I have already read more than I ever have in any year.  Do I read faster? No, I have an average reading rate (checked it on the internet), I have just chosen to read rather than do other things.  That, and I've had some long periods of ill health this year where all I wanted to do/was capable of doing was to read. And I've had less refusals this year too so have been better at choosing my reads. I don't skim read or miss out bits when I'm reading, I either read every word or nothing at all but I do keep books to re-read and I have, this year, read two at the same time - when I was reading Emma Goldman's biography, for example,  I could only read 16 pages a day because it was so detailed and fact filled, so I had a companion book to read because if I don't read 50 or so pages a day I start twitching, lol. I have come across an app where you can read classics (currently Nelly Bly's 10 Days in an Asylum) in 15 minutes a day, which is lovely.  I don't like e-books normally because the way I read the batteries can't take it, even in a dedicated e-book reader.

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I think speed reading is good when you have to read, but not when you want to read. I've never learned to do it, but I think it's something different than skim reading: as far as I'm aware, it's a technique for absorbing lots of content. It's probably good if you need to absorb big chunks, for example for work. It's probably not great for reading fiction for pleasure, I reckon. 

I also skip bits of some books. Who wrote that books "Rights of the Reader"? One was the right to skip. If it's my book and my time, I'll do what I like.

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10 hours ago, Minxminnie said:

I think speed reading is good when you have to read, but not when you want to read. I've never learned to do it, but I think it's something different than skim reading: as far as I'm aware, it's a technique for absorbing lots of content. It's probably good if you need to absorb big chunks, for example for work. It's probably not great for reading fiction for pleasure, I reckon. 

I also skip bits of some books. Who wrote that books "Rights of the Reader"? One was the right to skip. If it's my book and my time, I'll do what I like.


The gist of the article is that it's not possible to speed read the way that speed reading courses teach.  I understood that it's a given that it's your book and your time so you do what you want.  I just mentioned that I don't skip bits but that's just my opinion and not at all intended as a criticism.

Edited by lunababymoonchild
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Obviously reading every word has never got in the way of your enjoyment as a reader!  However, the ability to skip if you're getting bogged down is a key skill for children to learn.   Instead of abandoning a book if it's heavy going, they can skip ahead to try to find a more enjoyable bit.  I'm sure failing to learn this is one of the reasons why so many educated, intelligent adults never read books.

 

The article seems to say that speed reading doesn't work in the way it's supposed to because you don't retain the information, even if you have genuinely read every word.  What we need is a comment from a person who has learned this kind of speed reading and can say whether it works.  However, I suspect that a forum for people who love books isn't the most likely place to find one.

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10 hours ago, lunababymoonchild said:


The gist of the article is that it's not possible to speed read the way that speed reading courses teach.  I understood that it's a given that it's your book and your time so you do what you want.  I just mentioned that I don't skip bits but that's just my opinion and not at all intended as a criticism.

No I didn't think you were criticising! I agree with Heather that many people are put off reading by thinking there has to be rules, like not skipping and finishing a book you start. 

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16 hours ago, Heather said:

Obviously reading every word has never got in the way of your enjoyment as a reader!  However, the ability to skip if you're getting bogged down is a key skill for children to learn.   Instead of abandoning a book if it's heavy going, they can skip ahead to try to find a more enjoyable bit.  I'm sure failing to learn this is one of the reasons why so many educated, intelligent adults never read books.

 

The article seems to say that speed reading doesn't work in the way it's supposed to because you don't retain the information, even if you have genuinely read every word.  What we need is a comment from a person who has learned this kind of speed reading and can say whether it works.  However, I suspect that a forum for people who love books isn't the most likely place to find one.


No, it never has. Skipping ahead just never occurred to me, it has now. I agree, we need to hear from someone who does speed read

 

15 hours ago, Minxminnie said:

No I didn't think you were criticising! I agree with Heather that many people are put off reading by thinking there has to be rules, like not skipping and finishing a book you start. 

 

Phew! I have come across the 'I've started so I must finish' approach to a book.  A friend I have had since school days does this and she says that she can't bear to let a book get the better of her.  I can't imagine anything worse! 
 

I think that the reason children are not taught how to skip ahead is to stop them doing it all the time, otherwise they would never read anything.   

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