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longgone's avatar

How fast can you read?

Asked by longgone (17920points) March 22nd, 2015

I’ve been watching some jellies discuss this on another thread. I remember timing myself at about 15 years of age. I was able to read about eighty pages per hour then, though I didn’t think of myself as a particularly fast reader. I did read a lot, and I was entirely immersed in the story.

What about you?

I’m almost curious enough to time myself again.

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26 Answers

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I don’t know, but I don’t think I’m very fast. I usually can’t read fast enough to follow the subtitles in films. I’ve gotten good at guessing what’s going on by just getting bits and pieces of conversations. But my comprehension has always been very good and my retention of which page and where in which book something is discussed is very, very good.

longgone's avatar

Interesting. I do understand and remember what I’m reading, but “my retention of which page and where in which book something is discussed”...that I would describe as barely existent!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Never timed myself, so I have no idea. I read a lot but the speed depends on the material. If I want to totally immerse myself in something it could be pretty slow.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ll have to time myself sometime. I really don’t know. Probably a page a minute?

stanleybmanly's avatar

I only know that whatever my reading speed, I can’t keep up with the reading I want to do. I’ve succumbed to books on discs in the car or truck and wade through newspapers and magazines over meals away from home. The result is that I wind up stalling in restaurants for hours weekly. The interiors of the vehicles are littered with burger grease laden back issues of the Atlantic and particularly the New Yorker.

jaytkay's avatar

I read a lot but I am not a fast reader. If I try to read fast my comprehension plummets.

anniereborn's avatar

I use to be able to read pretty fast. But I have had to recently start using reading glasses. That is slowing me down. I hate it.

cheebdragon's avatar

If I like what I’m reading I can read a book in 2–3 hours if I have the time, but in general I usually go through maybe 2 books a week.

ucme's avatar

Depends, if i’m reading instructions on a fire extinguisher that i’m about to use, then I read shit hot.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

It depends what I’m reading. I can read some novels very quickly. A complicated text will slow me down considerably. I wouldn’t have a clue how many pages I can read an hour. I also wonder if people who are getting through many pages are reading most words (I don’t think most of us read all words) or skim reading significant portions.

ucme's avatar

The wife reads cooking books very…very slowly & still has no idea :D

David_Achilles's avatar

I can read pretty quickly if I am well rested but unfortunately, being sleep deprived has really cut into my reading ability. I read 3 or 4 pages and my eyes start to flicker shut. I fight it, but try as I may, sleep beckons.

It depends on the content and how much it engrosses me. Sometimes that is enough to carry me through. Sometimes not.

It’s actually quite frustrating. If I didn’t have to work for a living I know I’d read much more, and be a more fully rounded human being.

fluthernutter's avatar

Pretty similar to your description!

The last time I cared to time myself was probably early high school. (Freshman or the first half of sophomore year before I moved.) Averaged about 60–80 pph without much effort. And I agree, I wouldn’t consider myself the fastest reader. Just voracious!

I’d imagine I probably peaked sometime in college. But if you consider that the books you read in college are much more complicated than those you read in high school, there probably wouldn’t have been such a marked increase in pph.

Now, my pph would probably be way lower. I don’t have the time or attention span to fully immerse myself in a book anymore.

It’s pretty sad.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I’m a fast reader. If given a day with the only task is to read, I can finish a novel in one sitting. My fast reading skill gives me some advantages in reading tests at school.

Unfortunately I’ve got too much distraction to read these days.

dappled_leaves's avatar

With regards to the other thread that @longgone mentioned, a few people are mentioning their top speed may have been as much as 80 pages per hour. Do any of those people think they could have increased their speed by 25% (i.e., 100 pages per hour) and still been able to take in/retain any of what they were reading?

fluthernutter's avatar

@dappled_leaves There’s a big difference between what you are personally capable of doing and what someone else is capable of doing (without being considered crazy or improbable).

Yes, I would probably see a decrease in reading comprehension if I tried to push myself to 100pph. But that’s not to say that it couldn’t be done by someone else.

100pph isn’t even considered speed reading!

fluthernutter's avatar

If you take the average page to be 500 words, I translated pph into wpm.

Third-grade students = 150 wpm
Eighth grade students = 250
Average adult: 300 wpm
Average college student = 450
Reading at 60 pph = 500
Average “high level exec” = 575
Reading at 80 pph = 667
Average college professor = 675
Reading at 100 pph = 833
Speed readers = 1,500
World speed reading champion = 4,700

dappled_leaves's avatar

@fluthernutter “There’s a big difference between what you are personally capable of doing and what someone else is capable of doing (without being considered crazy or improbable).”

I did not make a judgment. I asked a question.

fluthernutter's avatar

@dappled_leaves Were you asking out of curiosity on an individual basis? Or were you trying to make a point that 100pph was only possible if you were reading kids books?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@fluthernutter Sorry, I am not trying to make a point. I am asking whether people who self-identify as fast readers could manage that much more speed.

kritiper's avatar

About 400 WPM.

longgone's avatar

@dappled_leaves Well, I’m sure I could increase my speed slightly. With those eighty pages per hour, I wasn’t trying to read quickly.

However, comprehension then would depend very much on what I’m reading. Books with an unusual sentence structure and non-fiction take me longer. If there are new ideas introduced, I’ll want some time to think about those. Also, as a non-native, unknown words can throw me off when I’m reading in English.

I think my speed would definitely be lower with something by James Joyce. A light novel, though – yes, I think I could increase my speed. I’m timing myself now!

I think it’s important to note that in the other thread, nobody claimed to be able to read 100 pages an hour. This question came up based on the idea that a novel is 400 pages long. I’m not sure if that’s the official definition of “novel”, but the term is certainly used to refer to books of shorter length as well.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m a slow reader. It’s probably part of the reason I don’t like reading, especially if the passage, article, or book, is very long. I almost never read books.

Even reading subtitles or a short sentence at the end of a program about what happened to a character I often miss part of what was written.

If I need to read something over while someone waits it’s unnerving for me.

longgone's avatar

Can’t believe I haven’t been back here! I timed myself, and I thought I’d shared the results…

I read bits of

a) Kidnapped by R. L. Stevenson (never read that before)
b) Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz (read it multiple times, and there’s lots of dialogue in there)
c) one of the books targeted to adults by Roald Dahl (read it once)
d) a German book written for teens (read it multiple times)

I was aiming for a good selection, one which would represent my usual reading. I think I succeeded.

On average, I read at the speed of 75 page/hour. I noticed that I was not immersed in my reading at all. I kept an eye on the clock, and was not concentrating well. I did, though, take care to read and understand every sentence. If I was able to concentrate, I am fairly sure I could get my speed back up.

fluthernutter's avatar

Interesting! Glad you took the time to read and to come back and report your results.

How long were your bits? I think the longer you read, the more accurate your timing will be. How do you think you can cut down on your distractions? Or do you think you’re just out of practice?

longgone's avatar

Ten minutes per book, for now.

I’m working on improving my ability to concentrate…I’m trying to be more mindful throughout my day. The choice of books is important, too. I’m most engrossed when reading new books which match a given day’s level in terms of difficulty.

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