General Question

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I think I'm a very slow reader. How long does it take you to read these two paragraphs?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (30874points) September 6th, 2010

I consider myself a very slow and arduous reader. However, I believe that I have fantastic attention to detail. It takes me over 1 minute to read through these two paragraphs and feel comfortable with knowledge retained. I’m interested in how fast you can read and retain them because I think I’m one of the slowest readers in the world. My children think there is something wrong with me.

If you’re interested, I’d like to know how I compare to others. So at your discretion, with no official timing, just approximations will do… Ready?... GO!

American Swimmer Gary Hall Jr. overcame diabetes to win four medals in the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, Australia. He anchored the US 4×100 medley relay to victory in world record time and also won a gold in the 50 freestyle relay, plus a silver medal in the 4×100 freestyle relay and a bronze in the 100 meter freestyle.

Hall nearly missed the Games after refusing to pay a fine for marijuana use. He appealed against a three-month suspension imposed in 1998 by world swimming’s governing body FINA after he tested positive for marijuana. FINA considered it was a second offence but Hall maintained it should have been considered a first infraction since the first time he tested positive—at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics—marijuana was not on the list of prohibited substances. Hall refused to pay the fine, saying: ``If that means I won’t compete in Sydney, then so be it. It’s a matter of principle.’’ However, the US swimming federation decided to pay the fine on condition that Hall agree to conduct several swimming clinics for American youngsters without pay, which the swimmer accepted.

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41 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Don’t know, about 20 seconds or so..I learned to read in Communist Russia and they made sure all kids could speed read like crazy and tested every few months to ensure we were reading machines.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

About 35 seconds.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I read them in about 40 seconds and feel like I retained the information well.

aprilsimnel's avatar

~25 seconds.

What’s so bad about needing a minute? If you aren’t comprehending the material, then it’s not truly reading, anyway.

JLeslie's avatar

It took me about a minute. If you asked me a question about the passage, I would have to go back and reread parts to answer the question probably. I have always been a very slow reader. My comprehension is pretty sucky if I just pick up something I have little interest in. I guess that is part of the reason I was a math oriented student. They put in me in a special class in Junior high to try to catch my comprehension up to where my math skills were. They wanted to get me into gifted, I never made it. LOL.

talljasperman's avatar

20 seconds…

lilikoi's avatar

Takes me ~40 seconds. I also consider myself a slow reader.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir So were you born there? When did you leave? I’m a little surprised that speed reading would transfer from Russian to English. And I always imagined the USSR not being big on people reading. Learned my new thing for the day, I guess.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Simone Took me about 20 seconds just to read and retain your quick reply to @papayalily.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@papayalily I wasn’t born there but was there from 5–11 years old and I think it would transfer, why wouldn’t it – the USSR was big on education, literature and math and science being very important parts. I learned more in 7 grades in Russia than I ever did here, comparatively.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Don’t feel bad. That you understand it and retained the important parts are what’s important, not how fast you read it.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I thought maybe if you weren’t fluent in one or something it wouldn’t transfer.
Well, that’s at least part because our education system sucks.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@papayalily Yep, at least until you get to the university.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Even then. Our public higher education is pretty much the same as K-12, just more expensive. It’s a huge problem.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@papayalily I probably agree with you but let’s not post any more off-topics stuff, :)

Nicole8's avatar

About 40 – 45 seconds. I’m also a slow reader but it’s okay.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Probably 15–20 seconds or so. I don’t even consider what I do to be “reading”.. it’s more like devouring.

SeventhSense's avatar

It took about 30 seconds and I got the general gist but exact details numbers and such I’d need a second glance.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes I specifically chose these paragraphs because of the numbers and dates. It’s harder than just getting the gist of meaning for a paragraph which only relates ideas, and not such details. At least it’s harder for me anyway.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Yes, but the numbers and dates aren’t important to the rest of the story. If you skim them, it’s ok so long as you get that he’s generally highly decorated in his field.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Right. But I’m an anal prick that can’t pass up any opportunity for putting all of my attention into the dirty little details. They suck me in like a mind hoover.

I think the key is to find balance, knowing when to concentrate on the details and when the generalizations will suffice. Alas, I am a slave to details. What makes it worse, is that I’ll read that same paragraph a dozen times just to infuse those details into my brain permanently.

No doubt tomorrow night I’ll be blurting drunken proclamations at the pool hall about Gary Hall being a stoner who won four golds in 2000 and recite the specific events mentioned. But then I’ll turn around and forget the name of the girl I just bought a drink for… unless I write it down.

Narl's avatar

It took me 50 seconds. I think we all read at different speeds and there is nothing at all wrong with that. My 11 year old daughter reads way faster than I do, and it’s never bothered me. It is what it is.

hobbitsubculture's avatar

22 seconds, with comprehension, although in another situation I would have just skimmed something like this. Oh, that Gary Hall Jr. and his antics.

People who read slowly tend to have one or a few of the same common problems. One is regression, which is when you go back over something and read it again before moving on. Another is subvocalization, pronouncing the words as you read. The other big one is reading one word at a time. Regression gets me sometimes.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I suffer from all ailments you mention. I can’t imagine not sub-vocalizing. Please recommend how to overcome this and regression and single word reading @hobbitsubculture.

hobbitsubculture's avatar

Somewhere I have an informative pdf that went over how to fix all these problems. The only one I remember well is regression, since that’s the one I sometimes have trouble with. Using your hand as a pointer when you read is a huge help for regression. Not a curled up fist with your index finger out as the pointer, just relaxed fingers beneath the line you’re reading. That way you’re physically keeping track of what you read, so you don’t go back over it twice.

I think the pointer is also supposed to help with word-by-word reading, if you group your fingers together a bit more, and use that to focus on multiple words as you read.

Not as sure about subvocalization, but that seems like it goes with word-by-word reading.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Maybe you could look into learning how to speed-read? I feel like I’ve seen some posts floating around on the intarwebz, I could do a quick look for you if you would like.

DominicX's avatar

I read it twice and it took about 30 each time. My boyfriend is a slow reader and he told me that he can force himself to read faster, but it causes him to get “stuck” on a certain word and slur it in his mind. Might not make sense, but I understood what he meant. It’s like when I do those typing tests and the speed and pressure causes me to just freeze on one word. I don’t think forcing yourself to read faster is a good idea…

zen_'s avatar

Wait, I’m still reading it.

Whitsoxdude's avatar

It took me like 35 seconds.

9doomedtodie's avatar

Whatever you have entered here i copied it to word & then read.. It took me 20 seconds.

Shuttle128's avatar

I always knew I was slow, but didn’t realize just how slow I was. I must be an extremely slow reader. I regress, subvocalize, and probably read one word at a time. I usually regress because I deviate from the other two.

Took me a full minute and six seconds to read.

lillycoyote's avatar

I think reading comprehension and retention are really more important than speed. Some people just read slower or faster than others. Maybe someone can read fast, but if they don’t remember what they read 10 minutes later what’s the point?

LostInParadise's avatar

i read just to get the gist. It took me somewhere around 30 seconds. If you asked me what medals the swimmer won or in what year, I could not tell you. I picked up on the part about the drug testing and the consequences. If I was quizzed on this tomorrow I would be able to tell you what I know now.

Jabe73's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies You’re faster than me. Of course I don’t see the point of reading anything unless I feel I have fully comprehended it (or why read it to begin with)? It all depends on the topic but it took 2 minutes for me on those two paragraphs you mentioned.

rebbel's avatar

46 seconds and all i remember is that he is a pothead.

downtide's avatar

33 seconds.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

Wow I think I’m the slowest one here it took me like 5 or 6 minutes to read that!

Response moderated (Off-Topic)

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