Speeding Through Reading

Nathan Bowyer, speed reader at Leesville has been reading since the age of three. Bowyer said that he eventually gained the ability to speed read. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Comeskey)Nathan Bowyer, speed reader at Leesville has been reading since the age of three. Bowyer said that he eventually gained the ability to speed read. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Comeskey)

No doubt most students would love to be able to read textbook chapters or books assigned to us as homework in minutes. Among our busy schedules packed with school, sports, clubs, homework and jobs, we often stay up too late or wake up early in order to have our school work completed on time. Sometimes when teachers assign reading as homework, students will write it off as least important and settle for a quick summary using Sparknotes.

Imagine if you could read in half the amount of time that it takes you now. Homework and studying would be a breeze right? An ancient technique commonly known as speed reading is an ability that few have but many dream about.

Obviously it has some perks when it comes to school work. “I can get homework done a lot faster or complete it in class, so I won’t have as much to do when I get home, and I can get ahead on reading,” said Nathan Bowyer, Leesville sophomore and speed reader.

The average adult can read about 250 to 300 words per minute. That doesn’t sound super impressive, and I bet that if you are reading this article right now you’re probably thinking that you read faster than that. The truth is, unless you are skimming– or are a speed reader– you don’t and here’s why.

As you read, your eyes focus on one word at a time. This is called fixation and it takes about .25 seconds on average. Your eyes have to move from word to word and that takes about .1 seconds. And the comprehension time takes about .4 seconds. This doesn’t sound like much time but all together it adds up.

Speed reading is an ability in which a person is able to read very quickly by assimilating numerous sentences at once. The average speed reader reads double or more the number of words per minute than a regular reader (about 600 to 1,000 words per minute).

You might be wondering “What’s the difference between speed reading and skimming?” Speed reading still allows the reader to fully comprehend the passage as if they read it normally differing from skipping words or phrases and not allowing full comprehension time that happens when you skim. Bowyer said that he scans the page. As the speed reader views the words, sentences join together.
Bowyer has a pretty cool talent that more often than not goes unnoticed by students and staff at Leesville for its simpleness.

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