How Fast Do You Read?

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Fred (Fred), Friday, 30 July 2004 11:31 (seventeen years ago) link

Apparently 250-300 words a minute. Which is apparently higher than everage. But I suspect not higher than the average on here.

accentmonkey (accentmonkey), Friday, 30 July 2004 14:55 (seventeen years ago) link

I tested at 450-500 wpm -- yet that STILL isn't fast enough to read all of the books that I want to!

Mark Klobas, Friday, 30 July 2004 15:17 (seventeen years ago) link

Apparently, I have a reading rate of 600-650 wpm. I understood what I was reading, but that has to be skimming, surely.

SRH (Skrik), Friday, 30 July 2004 16:38 (seventeen years ago) link

Different test gives 500-550 words. Perhaps the fact that I was familiar with the first text gave me an edge.

SRH (Skrik), Friday, 30 July 2004 16:40 (seventeen years ago) link

"You read between 850 - 900 words per minute." I finished it just as the timer went off. I know the text, however. Other tests I've read around 750-800. I was wired this way. I consciously slow down in order to savor some kinds of delicious prose.

Rabin the Cat (Rabin the Cat), Friday, 30 July 2004 18:14 (seventeen years ago) link

Crazy fast.

It really depends. If we're talking about The Davinci Code, maybe 750-900 wpm. However, when I read Absalom, Absalom!, I may have bene in teh double digits at the beginning.

Phastbuck, Friday, 30 July 2004 18:20 (seventeen years ago) link

I finished with about 5-6 seconds to go - I've been tested before, years back, at around 1000. Once I was sitting next to a brilliant and very quick-witted friend of mine on the tube, reading a comic over his shoulder, and said at one point something like "Come on, turn the page!" (in a jokey way). He was still on the LH page, and slammed it shut and said "You cannot have read all of that." "Of course I have." "Well you can't have absorbed any of it - tell me what happens on those pages." I recited, very close to word for word, every line on them, and described the imagery.

Obviously speed varies - you can't read Ed McBain and Proust at the same speed.

This speed will be welcome: I am starting Infinite Jest today.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Saturday, 31 July 2004 08:54 (seventeen years ago) link

I averaged 300 - 350 words per minute in both the tests on that site. Then I checked with my stopwatch and an unread Wodehouse story, I got 300 wpm including the time spent in laughing.

Fred (Fred), Saturday, 31 July 2004 09:17 (seventeen years ago) link

1st time 200-250;
2nd time 250-300;
3rd time 300-350.

I actually read a lot slower than that, re-reading large sections at a time. there's no way I took that all in.

cºzen (Cozen), Saturday, 31 July 2004 17:43 (seventeen years ago) link

850-900 WPM. Textbooks and the like I read slower, everyday fiction I read WAY too fast. Fortuately, I can re-read books - otherwise I would have problems.

melissag (mjgaul), Sunday, 1 August 2004 01:36 (seventeen years ago) link

Wow! I have never tested, but I know I am much MUCH S L O W E R

pepektheassassin (pepektheassassin), Sunday, 1 August 2004 01:52 (seventeen years ago) link

You read between 850 - 900 words per minute

It generally takes about 2 hours or so to finish a novel.

tokyo rosemary (rosemary), Monday, 2 August 2004 22:50 (sixteen years ago) link

300-350 but then English is not my first language...

misshajim (strand), Tuesday, 3 August 2004 08:21 (sixteen years ago) link


Very slowly.

the pomefox, Tuesday, 3 August 2004 08:33 (sixteen years ago) link

I keep starting to read that text and getting interrupted by work, so I don't know. When I THINK about reading I stop being able to do it properly... I suspect I read fiction a lot faster than non-fiction though.

Archel (Archel), Tuesday, 3 August 2004 08:57 (sixteen years ago) link

WPM doesn't mean much to me. I'm interested in how many books people can read PER MONTH.

I can only manage 2-3 books per month, if I'm lucky. I read about 40-50 pages per hour.

Vic, Tuesday, 3 August 2004 18:45 (sixteen years ago) link

I read between 20 and 30 books a month. Some are slower going than others.

Rabin the Cat (Rabin the Cat), Tuesday, 3 August 2004 19:29 (sixteen years ago) link

These days I probably only read about ten books a month - I only read them hile commuting and a little in bed before I fall asleep (and sometimes that slot is taken up with comics instead). At other times in my life I've been reading three times as much.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Tuesday, 3 August 2004 19:59 (sixteen years ago) link

How long can you read at one sitting?

Casuistry (Chris P), Tuesday, 3 August 2004 20:58 (sixteen years ago) link

My record is four books in one sitting, when at uni (nothing else to do then), all through a night, then I went for a walk around Cambridge at about 6am, which was one of the nicest times I had in my brief stay there. Then when I went back to uni, after the end of my first year I decided to read Proust, and got through A La Recherche in ten days, which meant I was sitting reading most of the time.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Tuesday, 3 August 2004 21:12 (sixteen years ago) link

Rabin the Cat,

20-30 books a month?!?! That's insane. Are you talking 20-30 children's books, like Beatrix Potter's "A Tale of Two Bad Mice," or are you reading substantial novels (300-500 pages)?

Do you think you're missing anything when reading that fast? Do you get a chance to savour the prose?

I wonder if those with photographic memories are also much faster readers.

Vic, Tuesday, 3 August 2004 21:52 (sixteen years ago) link

Yep, I knew I would end up being one of the slow ones. I know a woman who reads three books a day. Her husband was convinced she was skimming them, so he set her a test on one of her books, and it turned out she wasn't. It was very funny. He was outraged that she could read so quickly and retain the information so well.

I don't read quickly, nor do I retain information particularly well. I'm not saying I'm thick or anything, but I am a bit of a plodder compared to the high end people I hang around with. Yeah, that's right, I've had to work for all my knowledge. So all you fast readers, you appreciate it.

accentmonkey (accentmonkey), Wednesday, 4 August 2004 16:02 (sixteen years ago) link

200-250 words per minute for the Kennedy one, 300-350 for the Willa Cather. I was slowed down on the Kennedy one by the Kennedy/Mayor Quimby imitations in my head as I was reading it.

Joe Kay (feethurt), Wednesday, 4 August 2004 17:04 (sixteen years ago) link

350-400. I am so jealous of those of you who read faster.

Caenis (Caenis), Wednesday, 4 August 2004 22:19 (sixteen years ago) link

Those of you who are super fast readers, is it something you practiced, or have you always been that way? If you practiced/trained, what did you do to increase your reading speed?

Caenis (Caenis), Wednesday, 4 August 2004 22:22 (sixteen years ago) link

I've always been that way - I've always been fast at anything mental really. I'm one of those people who finishes exams really early and so on.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Thursday, 5 August 2004 09:28 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm not even going to take this test. I know I'm a pretty fast reader, but it's moot because I can only read for fifteen or twenty minutes before falling asleep at night. :(

Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 6 August 2004 14:48 (sixteen years ago) link

I've always been a fast reader- wired that way. I learned to read at 4 and was reading a Nancy Drew daily by age 7. I only practice it in that I read for hours every day. As for missing things because I read so quickly; I sometimes flip back to catch a detail I missed, I rationed myself to one Kingsolver essay a night when her last book came out because I love her style and wanted to savor it. If I included the children's books I read for pleasure and work, the total would be considerably higher that 20-30 a month. Yesterday, for instance, I sat down and read two YA novels (200+ pages), and "The Jane Austen Book Club" in 4 hours. Fiction goes much faster than non-fiction. And, as I said in my post above,I consciously slow down in order to savor some kinds of delicious prose. This skill, or whatever it is, has no value on the open market that I have found.

Rabin the Cat (Rabin the Cat), Saturday, 7 August 2004 18:32 (sixteen years ago) link

I've always been a quick reader, too. It seems it runs in the family. My son was recently tested at twice his reading age. He's 10.

SRH (Skrik), Saturday, 7 August 2004 19:19 (sixteen years ago) link

SRH- My mother and brother both read very fast, sister almost as fast. My dad is a fairly slow reader. It does seem like it might be an inherited tendency, nurtured by modeling from the parent.

Rabin the Cat (Rabin the Cat), Saturday, 7 August 2004 19:55 (sixteen years ago) link

My reading is getting slower as I get older (37 now), but I was never anywhere near Martin Skidmore/Rabin the Cat speeds.
What frequently happens now is that a chance sentence or image in the book I'm reading will trigger a memory of something that happened in my own life, and this causes me to daydream for 10 minutes or so, forgetting the book. Also, I like to drink whiskey while I read (not all the time), which tends to slow things down.

Joe Kay (feethurt), Sunday, 8 August 2004 19:02 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm happily married, and I swear I'm not hitting on you, but... "What frequently happens now is that a chance sentence or image in the book I'm reading will trigger a memory of something that happened in my own life, and this causes me to daydream for 10 minutes or so, forgetting the book." is incredibly sexy.

Rabin the Cat (Rabin the Cat), Monday, 9 August 2004 04:46 (sixteen years ago) link

Here's a more important question: what were the two pieces on the test? Can you remember any of them?

I can remember what one was, but remember no text and no point from either of them. So it doesn't even matter that I read them "slowly", I still didn't glean any actual info from them.

accentmonkey (accentmonkey), Monday, 9 August 2004 06:59 (sixteen years ago) link

Rabin, I'm blushing! Thanks very much.

Joe Kay (feethurt), Monday, 9 August 2004 15:45 (sixteen years ago) link

Yeah, I recall the general thrust of the Kennedy speech, which was the only test I did.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 9 August 2004 19:31 (sixteen years ago) link

"Quand on lit trop vite ou trop doucement on n'entend rien" (Pascal)

Marcello Sacco, Thursday, 12 August 2004 07:07 (sixteen years ago) link

300-350 on the Kennedy, and 400-450 on the Willa Cather. I find my pace is entirely dependent on what I'm reading, and, obv. my enjoyment level to an extent. Polysci textbooks take me forever to get through. Novels depend on the author. I found a couple Sue Grafton 'A is for Apple' mysteries to clear my head after a week of writing papers, and I got through three in two days; now I'm reading Don Delillo, and I'm going slowly because I love wallowing in the language. I find that I read Margaret Atwood very quickly, short stories or novels, while Joseph Conrad takes a long time.

derrick (derrick), Sunday, 15 August 2004 08:33 (sixteen years ago) link

I read rather fast - my beloved gets upset because i tend to devour books. I often wonder if I'm getting everything I should. I scored 300- 350 on the Kennedy thing, but I'm from Massachusetts and I had to listen to it in my head as well as read it. My beloved has interesting texts like C plus plus - How To Program! which would take me about eighteen years to read.

aimurchie, Monday, 16 August 2004 09:52 (sixteen years ago) link

Wow, that was interesting. I've always been told that I read fast, but I've never had proof before.

750-800 words per minute.

I wonder how it coordinates to typing speed, as well, because I can type unbelievably fast, too.

Super-Masonic Black Hole (kate), Monday, 16 August 2004 11:52 (sixteen years ago) link

You can check your typing speed here:

Fred (Fred), Monday, 16 August 2004 14:44 (sixteen years ago) link

What exactly is good typing? Most of my scores were between 90 and 105 WPM, but I don't know if that's good or not.
I remember finding some other site that had a much better typing test though... It had a high score list and much longer texts... I'll see if I can find it.

I got 600-650 on the Kennedy address, but I usually read slower than that, since I have a tendency to brood and get lost in thoughts (associations, mainly), not to mention when I want to either learn something by heart or cherish the language.

If anyone else bothers with these, I'm curious... Do you Touch type, or have some curious finger-brew of your own? I'm in the latter camp, not having heard of Touch until it was far too late to consider switching.

Øystein H-O (Øystein H-O), Monday, 16 August 2004 16:34 (sixteen years ago) link

90 is pretty fast typing, I think. I only do 30wpm, including corrections, but that's not bad for one finger (well, one more for the shift key).

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 16 August 2004 17:01 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...
You read between 600 - 650 words per minute. Extremely efficient reading level.
Wow! I've doubled my reading speed in a years time!

Fred (Fred), Friday, 21 October 2005 12:20 (fifteen years ago) link

I read between 550-600...and English is not even my native language! I surprised myself! Typing is probably really bad, and because I feel quite content now, I'm not going to try it :P

Eva van Rein (Gaia1981), Saturday, 22 October 2005 15:01 (fifteen years ago) link

I read slower (350wpm-ish) these days than I used to. I think it's like I developed ADD sometime, I get distracted more easily in noisy places or in the car (I used to knock books out in the car with no problem), and I read more right before I go to sleep and thus don't read as much.

Are You Nomar? (miloaukerman), Saturday, 22 October 2005 16:38 (fifteen years ago) link

600 - 650 though english is my third language.

Fred (Fred), Saturday, 22 October 2005 20:57 (fifteen years ago) link

350wpm for me, I used to devour book but I like the slower pace. 43wpm on the typing test, even though I used to touch type. I'm quicker when I'm not copying, which is something I rarely do in the age of Ctrl+V.

I feel similar to Nomar, I feel I am getting worse at devouring novels, and sometimes get distracted when I'm trying to concentrate on reading.

Navek Rednam (Navek Rednam), Saturday, 22 October 2005 22:33 (fifteen years ago) link

300-350. My problem isn't the speed at which I read, but the amount of time I have for reading. I drive to work, so no time then. Tea and lunch breaks are taken up with the newspaper. I'm happy if I get half an hour in before I go to sleep. My favourite time to read, though, is between 8am and 10am at the weekend because I'm not fighting dipping eyelids and I'm not in a rush to go anywhere.

Mädchen (Madchen), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 10:24 (fifteen years ago) link

Slowly, still.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 25 October 2005 12:31 (fifteen years ago) link

Problem with this test is that I speed up my reading quite considerably once I warm up. If I pick up a novel I'll be reading it much faster once it takes hold, which will be within a minute or two if it's an easy read or but longer if the style takes getting used to. At least that's how it's always felt to me. If my subjective impression is right I read quite a lot faster after ten minutes or so than when I'm faced with something cold.

frankiemachine, Tuesday, 25 October 2005 13:12 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm at 400-450.

Those of you reading at 800 plus, were you always that fast or have you just gotten gradually faster and faster because you read a ton? Also, can you really absorb what you're reading at that rate?

Hurting (Hurting), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 19:32 (fifteen years ago) link

300 - 350

But I sometimes come across books where the prose acts like a speed ramp. For example, Updike's 'Seek My Face' completely jarred my usual reading spead because of its incredibly long sentences.

Recently I've also been experimenting with reading aloud to try to strengthen my voice, which makes my reading speed really slow.

Bob Six (bobbysix), Thursday, 27 October 2005 11:15 (fifteen years ago) link

fifteen years pass...

Just heard that people who visualize what they read more are more slower than readers with strong aphantasia. Maybe that's an additional reason why I'm so slow.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 20 March 2021 22:17 (four months ago) link

I cannot visualise anything and I read too fast, so I dunno

Bastard Lakes (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 20 March 2021 22:19 (four months ago) link

the times on the kobo website always feel very optimistic to me

1200+ pages in 30 hours?

koogs, Saturday, 20 March 2021 22:40 (four months ago) link

I'm a moderately slow reader, or I assume so. I've never measured my rate or compared it to the median rate so that's just my impression.

Judge Roi Behan (Aimless), Saturday, 20 March 2021 22:48 (four months ago) link

It really depends on what I'm reading. The slower the better ime.

pomenitul, Saturday, 20 March 2021 22:50 (four months ago) link

soooooooo slow.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 20 March 2021 22:57 (four months ago) link

wish I could slow down and retain more, just too impatient

Bastard Lakes (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 20 March 2021 23:00 (four months ago) link

have pretty much never been able to read more than abt 35 pages/hour and it truly drives me up fuckin the wall. used to try different tricks and techniques to speed up but nothing ever sat well, gave up trying years ago.

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Sunday, 21 March 2021 17:05 (four months ago) link

i'm a subvocalizer, which i always thought was how everyone read but apparently not. i've tried to break the habit but reading without 'hearing' the words is very strange to me, and it feels like i'm not absorbing anything or even reading at all.

, Sunday, 21 March 2021 18:43 (four months ago) link

Until about 1800 or thereabouts silent reading was almost unknown.

Judge Roi Behan (Aimless), Sunday, 21 March 2021 18:47 (four months ago) link

About 80-100 pages an hour, faster itf it's a bio and other non-fic.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 21 March 2021 18:50 (four months ago) link

About the same,

Ignore the neighsayers: grow a lemon tree (ledge), Sunday, 21 March 2021 18:58 (four months ago) link

(oops)... don't think I'm faster for non fic though. I subvocalise (wouldn't know how to stop) and visualise.

Ignore the neighsayers: grow a lemon tree (ledge), Sunday, 21 March 2021 18:59 (four months ago) link

I probably don't achieve the giddy heights of 80wpm with e.g. Henry James.

Ignore the neighsayers: grow a lemon tree (ledge), Sunday, 21 March 2021 19:19 (four months ago) link

wpm? ppm.

Ignore the neighsayers: grow a lemon tree (ledge), Sunday, 21 March 2021 19:22 (four months ago) link

Yes that's 80 posts per minute trying to correct my own idiotic mistakes. Pph.

Ignore the neighsayers: grow a lemon tree (ledge), Sunday, 21 March 2021 19:24 (four months ago) link

I thinkit was comfortably about a page a minute if I was relaxing. Did get a bit faster overa summer in 2003 when I was just reading books at top speed. about a book a day. Not sure what i retained from it, think I read acouple of thigs a couple of times. Was just working through a whole load of books from teh University library.
Could possibly do with rereading a couple of them. I remember reading a book on Rimbaud and his time in Africa which I wish i could remember teh contenst of better. Also I think KIng Leopold's Ghost was taht summer.
Did I read Korzibski then too?

Anyway think about a page a minute comfortably .

Stevolende, Sunday, 21 March 2021 20:01 (four months ago) link

I've been stuck at 6 pages per hour for YEARS, it's fucking hell

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 21 March 2021 21:15 (four months ago) link

i'm a subvocalizer, which i always thought was how everyone read but apparently not. i've tried to break the habit but reading without 'hearing' the words is very strange to me, and it feels like i'm not absorbing anything or even reading at all.

Cosign. I am relieved to hear from Wired, of all places, that there are no magic tricks I can use to increase my abysmally average reading speed besides just reading more and harder things.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Sunday, 21 March 2021 21:26 (four months ago) link

I cannot visualise anything and I read too fast, so I dunno

― Bastard Lakes (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 20 March 2021 22:19 (two days ago) bookmarkflaglink

Same. I used to think it was cool to read 2-3 books in a day and now I think it sucks.

Bignefs Proportionable (seandalai), Monday, 22 March 2021 22:48 (four months ago) link

I'm increasingly slow and it pains me - probably 40 pages an hour, but I genuinely can't remember the last time I had an unbroken hour of reading.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 10:54 (four months ago) link

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