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Old 2008-05-12, 12:01   Link #1
Kinny Riddle
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Join Date: Apr 2004
How to read faster and absorb large amount of information/words?

Lately I find myself having a bad habit of buying interesting books (both academic and anime-related light novels) before I even finish the books I have with me, that I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed by the information I have to absorb, not just by books but by the amount of words in the blogs and forums that I frequent.

There was once a news report that said the amount of words being written by humans in 2006 (or was it 2007) far surpass all those written in the past 3000 years.

I'm now finding it very difficult to catch up with any forum debates as some people can get very "long winded" in their arguments. This is exasperated by them not dividing their sentences into suitably short paragraphs. I usually just skip through their arguments altogether.

I wonder if I'm reading too slowly?

What are your reading speeds? How do you cope with digesting large amounts of information via books, blogs and forums? And how do you try and improve that, if it can be improved at all?

PS Please, if you must give an "intellectual" response, divide your sentences into reasonably long paragraphs, not too long, and not too short.

Edit: Due to the perceived inaccuracies of that reading test, leading to complaints that this is just leading people to spam and brag their results. I've removed it so that discussion can move in more constructive direction.

Last edited by Kinny Riddle; 2008-05-17 at 12:55.
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Old 2008-05-12, 12:19   Link #2
KiNA
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Mine is
Code:
You read 518 words in 1.48 minutes. Your reading speed is 350 words per minute!
Which I think about normal for me, but then again, I'm used to gobbled up each issues of Reader Digest fro cover to cover in less the 2 hours.

On forums or blogs, I used to make it habit to moves my mouse over the lines Im reading.. then advances to make the lines I'm reading is at the very top which in one scroll over will make it dissappear. I had to scroll down alot at first, but soon my eyes catch up and I can scroll and read most of the thread at the same time.

Image threads, on the other hand, tend to make me extend the time spent on them

Oh.. since you tend to misunderstood me in the football thread.. I dont want to brag about my word per minute, rather, I hope other peoples can post their results too so you can see if you are normal ( in reading speed )or not.
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Old 2008-05-12, 12:29   Link #3
Marina
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Hmmmm, I got 691 words/minute, but I wasn't really trying to read too fast since I wanted to understand what I was reading.
Since being in college, I tend to read about that slow as compared to trying to read faster for comprehension purposes. I tend to absorb things the first time I read them, so I don't really need to re-read sections unless it's a very dense book.

In reference to the link you gave:
Subvocalized - No, I never do that. I both read and and try to sound out the words internally. I'm pretty sure I read some things with the wrong pronunciation, but hey, it's for my own reading and it's not too necessary to know how to say it unless I'm going to read out loud.

Speedreading - Heh, I do this from time to time, to try and up my reading speed. I typically do this with books such as my school books since they have lots of wonderfully hard sections to stumble over.

Proof-reading - I guess I have to do this a lot since I study English literature and write a lot......don't really have much to say on this.

Multiple intelligences - Yay! This one is my favorite. I'm sure a lot of people visualize the scenes as I do, because then how would it be fun to read if one can't imagine out the scenarios and immerse themselves in the world? Of course I'm speaking mostly creative writing pieces here, but it sometimes works with text books.

Anyways, interesting little topic we got here, I thoroughly enjoyed the quick reading-speed test ^_^
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Old 2008-05-12, 12:34   Link #4
KiNA
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O_O how the hell do you read so fast.. Wont your head explode?

@.@
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Old 2008-05-12, 12:35   Link #5
WanderingKnight
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I got 389 words per minute, but English is not my mother language so I guess it'd be faster in Spanish. Though I'm so used to read English that perhaps my reading ability is shifting from Spanish to English...

Spanish has also longer words and more complex sentence structures, so I don't know how much faster could it be.

Anyways, my speed depends on what I'm doing. If I'm reading for leisure, I tend to read slowly and calmly. If it's study material, well, the sooner I'm done with it, the better
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Old 2008-05-12, 12:36   Link #6
Marina
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Originally Posted by KiNA View Post
O_O how the hell do you read so fast.. Wont your head explode?

@.@
Eh, KiNa, I read a LOT. Started reading really young too. Practice makes perfect, right?
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Old 2008-05-12, 12:48   Link #7
KiNA
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Dont worry, like WKnight says, I probably read faster if its in my native language. Sometimes its a habit of mine to wonder about something related too.

Take for example the subvocalized system. My granpa would swear that its the best way to remember something.. because each lines goes tru your mind 3 times at least.. 1st your eyes sees them, then you read it loud, so your mind remember what you talk internally, then you heard them with your ears. But it never works for me
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Old 2008-05-12, 12:53   Link #8
chison
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my speed reading english is at
You read 532 words in 1.62 minutes. Your reading speed is 328 words per minute!

i know i ignore quite a lot,XD skip all the un-known word
still ,there are some moster reader upward.w.
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Old 2008-05-12, 12:58   Link #9
Shana
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Reading the text in English, without comprehending, it was 452 words/minute. But I used a (bad) translator so I could see how much I can read in my mother language, but that was SO bad translated... it was...

552 words/minute!

wtf XD that's why I finish my tests so fast
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Old 2008-05-12, 12:58   Link #10
Kyuusai
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My speed result is withheld both for modesty's sake as well as the possibility that some one might come along with a higher score and embarrass me.

Kinny, I think you're dealing less with your reading speed than simply dealing with information overload. It's possible to deal with much more information than you're used to, but one has to learn the mental attitude as well as how to organize and compartmentalize things in terms of time as well as emotionally and intellectually.

I'd recommend starting by taking a break, prioritizing and organizing your reading as well as anything else you have going on, and starting from there. Learning both to speed read as well as how to effectively skim will go a long way in helping you deal with more at once, but if you're dealing with the stress of juggling many things at once, you can still feel overwhelmed.

Don't think I'm discouraging you from learning to read faster! I highly recommend it. Reading with focus and purpose, learning to skim for key phrases and words, and learning to read sections at a glance instead of taking it word by word are the first steps I'd recommend. Practicing those alone will take you a long way.
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Old 2008-05-12, 13:04   Link #11
Spectacular_Insanity
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According to mine, it said 600 words per minute. I never knew I could read so fast.

Quote:
You read 390 words in 0.65 minutes. Your reading speed is 600 words per minute!
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Old 2008-05-12, 13:15   Link #12
nanafan
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i have 382 words per minute. i guess that is normal. i thought it would be better since i read a lot.
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Old 2008-05-12, 13:19   Link #13
Kamui4356
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Reading through it as fast as i can and still being able to extract useful information got me this: You read 518 words in 0.39 minutes. Your reading speed is 1328 words per minute!

At more more normal reading speed though, I got this: You read 532 words in 0.85 minutes. Your reading speed is 626 words per minute!

Of course it depends on what I'm reading.Some things I can read faster, other I have to read slower. To be honest, I don't like reading as fast as i can, since it takes the fun out.
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Old 2008-05-12, 13:35   Link #14
tripperazn
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Speed Reading: 1018 (how I read forum posts/blogs)
Normal (sub-vocalized): 617 (how I read academic literature)

Fast reading while digesting information is a skill born from desperation for me. I love to procrastinate, and usually study for a midterm the day before starting from Chapter 1. It's as Marina says, "practice makes perfect".

The fact that your native language was not English is probably the issue here. From what I can tell, you're from HK and you are proficient in Japanese. That's at least 4 languages that you take in on a daily basis English, Cantonese, Mandarin (I think they should be differentiated, with grammar and character differences), and Japanese. The already large amount of information that you take in is split among these 4 languages, which makes it hard for your brain to organize and efficiently absorb.

I personally have great difficulty juggling between languages. I stutter very badly in confusion when translating English to Chinese (and vice versa) verbally, even though I do it a lot.

My suggestion: keep at it. The human brain is so adaptable that you can function on one hemisphere.
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Old 2008-05-12, 13:54   Link #15
Thingle
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You read 532 words in 0.59 minutes. Your reading speed is 902 words per minute!
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Old 2008-05-12, 14:00   Link #16
KholdStare
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It really depends. That passage was so boring that I struggled to pay attention, so it came out 412 wpm. With forums and novels, I reach much much faster.
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Old 2008-05-12, 14:10   Link #17
Terrestrial Dream
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KholdStare View Post
It really depends. That passage was so boring that I struggled to pay attention, so it came out 412 wpm. With forums and novels, I reach much much faster.
I agree with you if it is something interesting I would get into it and read much faster.
Mine was
Quote:
You read 518 words in 1.05 minutes. Your reading speed is 493 words per minute!
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Old 2008-05-12, 14:21   Link #18
Rookie103
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I don't really think there's a technique to it. Some people can read faster and the like and some people can't.
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Old 2008-05-12, 14:28   Link #19
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
You read 518 words in 0.99 minutes. Your reading speed is 523 words per minute!
Depending on how interested I was in understanding the text, I could have been much faster or slower, though. (Also, English isn't my first language).

About reading forums: I've stopped feeling guilty about skipping retarded posts or conversations. That's helped a lot in cutting down the amount of reading material.
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Old 2008-05-12, 14:29   Link #20
Vexx
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Hmmmm, it said I read at 1204 wpm (normal casual speed) ... but its information that I already sort of know. I tend to grab chunks of words by the block (paragraph, etc) rather than actually read each word. In 7th grade, they gave us a reading-acceleration program from which I credit much of that. There *are* techniques for reading faster with retention and comprehension.

However, I know my speed drops dramatically if I'm reading in a subject matter about something I'm unfamiliar with and has a high fog index (many polysyllabic words and compound sentences). When reading Nature (science journal), I know my speed drops well below a hundred wpm at times (especially if I'm having to look words up).

I understand what the OP means about reading some posts here when people don't use standard sentence and paragraph structures (while being long-winded). I'm guilty of footnoting my sentences with lots of parentheses.

I also type at up to 100wpm (especially when retyping material) but usually around 80wpm (thanks to a typing class I took in high school).

Note: the test is lousy --- it doesn't take you to a separate page and *test* you on the material. However, this supporting page has some good advice.
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