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How fast you are reading a novel?

I am a wide reader, I can finish a 400-page novel in one to two sitting, about 2-3 hours only.

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Image by StockSnap from

Simply opening a book

We open a book not simply to lose ourselves in it. We open our book just to make ourselves carried away from different problems.

We are caught up and carried away, but on a deeper level we become involved in experiences outside our own. We take part in other lives. We live in other eras. We explore difficulties and successes we’d never otherwise know. The written word gives us the thoughts, emotions, aspirations and deeds that have created the weave and fabric of civilization. It is our storehouse of knowledge and experience, through the ages and across cultures. It makes us human and it makes us humane.

I am a Librarian by profession, as a calling for my job description I must know all the books that I have in my library collection. That’s a heavy task if you have more or less than 15,000 books and the management is keep on buying books every other month. So, my problem before I became a professional librarian was how to read all that books. At first, I just read the titles and authors of each book for every shelf or simply called as shelf-reading.

Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Do we read from cover to cover?

But one day, a student asked me of a particular subject, and based on my memory, I didn’t encounter that title. The student got a grimy face trying to locate that book for another look by her.

Too bad, I just helped her assist for a wider topic such as using our Dewey Decimal Classification System. Until she found a particular book that will help in her research topic. The topic is within the chapter of that book. I just smiled and said, “You made it!” but deep inside, I had a heartache, why she’s the one who got it? I am their librarian, it would be better, if I am the one who locate her topic.

When I got home, I cannot sleep because of what happened earlier. So, I decided to increase my reading capability. But still had a question in mind, how to read the 15,000+ titles in my library empire? I am familiar now with all the spine titles and the author of each book but not in the topic of each chapter.

I decided to read one book to another from cover to cover. But I said to myself, if I am going to do this way, I will be reaching 60 years old, I am not yet done reading. So, I have to think the fastest or shortcut way. One day, while I am reading a particular book, I decided to jump one page to another—so it means, I am skipping pages. And I am happy that I do understand what I am reading. So, in that case, I’d lessen the time to finish reading one book. Before I am reading the whole book through the day, of course, in between, I have to attend the library users who need my help. But today, I’ve read three non-fiction books in two days. Not that good but it’s alright for a starter.

Reading in between pages will help us move faster if you need it. But if you really want to read the whole book from cover to cover, it’s up to you.

Now, before you read try to examine your eyes. The eyes are the most important physical tool for reading. I have here three basic requirements for reading: (1) reading requires proper light. Poor lighting can strain the best of eyes; (2) reading requires the quiet essential for concentration, many people find some background noise such as radio (MP3/MP4, CD), more favorable to concentration than complete silence; and (3) reading requires an appropriate seating position.

Some can read as fast as lightning and some reads as slowest like a turtle. When you learn to read noticeably faster, you will better understand the meaning of what you read—both objectively and subjectively.

Do you think you would really enjoy or appreciate seeing 15 minutes of a good movie today, leaving at the end of a scene, returning another day for 15 minutes of viewing the next scene and repeating the process until you had seen the entire film?

Image by silviarita from

Image by silviarita from

Measuring your speed reading

Why might you stretch out reading over such extended periods? Mainly because you may not have too many days when you can devote several hours just to reading; secondly, because it simply may become too very tiring—even boring—to read more than an hour or so at a single sitting. In addition, whether you think about it or not, you do have a “one-track” mind—and this is not a joke or any mark of lack of intelligence.

To read effectively, your mind must be on what is being read; if the mind wanders, you are, at that moment, thinking about something else—and you cannot remember or comprehend what you have covered visually while your one-track mind was elsewhere.

You can develop your reading speed by giving the job your complete and undivided attention. Daydreaming may be the universal pastime, but is is a sure way to cut down on your speed in reading. There are many ways to increase your reading speed. You should look for a plan that the author may be following and pay attention to the signals that he puts along the way. By the use of signals, the author tells you what route he is following and informs you when he has reached his destination. Your reading speed should vary according to the type material that you encounter.

Do you too often have to reread relatively easy paragraphs, pages, or even entire chapters to get much meaning from them?

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Undoubtedly, developing the potential for completing most reading tasks in one or two sittings (or hours) will improve your overall understanding and completeness of thought.

Are you worried that you are a slow reader? You probably shouldn’t be. If you want to increase your reading speed, here are some of the tips:

  1. You must focus your attention and concentration.
  2. You must remove environmental and physical distractions.
  3. You must read in a comfortable environment.
  4. Don’t get hung up on single words or sentences, but do look in the dictionary key words that you must understand in order to grasp an entire concept.
  5. Try to grasp overall concepts rather than attempting to understand every detail.

Most poor readers proceed at about 40 to 50 words per minute, the average reader proceeds at about 75 to 120 words per minute while the good readers proceed at about 150 to 200 and even more words per minute

Try to read at 500 words of short story or article from start to finish and note your time from your stopwatch. Score yourself using this:

Under 45 seconds Very Fast

46-55 seconds Fast

56-70 seconds Average

71-85 seconds Slow

86+ seconds Very Slow

Measure your reading speed.

How to calculate words per page?

Words in first line = ____________

Words in second line = __________

Words in third line = ____________

Words in fourth line = ___________

Total = _________________

Divided by 4


Average words per line = _____________

Multiplied by lines per page X _________

Average words per page = _____________

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Luis G Asuncion


Luis G Asuncion (author) from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on February 06, 2020:

Thanks Devika for that wonderful comment.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 05, 2020:

I like the idea for this article I am not a fast reader and 400 pages would be to weeks for me. Thank you for an interesting hub on this unique title.

Luis G Asuncion (author) from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 25, 2019:

In order the fastest as we can in one sitting, we have to make sure, Marlene, that there will be no destruction in your place. What I mean, for example, while reading, there should be no television watching and the likes. Thanks for commenting.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on November 25, 2019:

It should say, "I enjoy..." I tried making the correction, but not sure the correction was made.

Luis G Asuncion (author) from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 25, 2019:

Yes, Marlene. I did attend a speed reading class too, few years back, that is why, I already learned it. I will share it here some of the techniques that I am using in order to finish a thick book to finish in less than an hour.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on November 25, 2019:

I enjoy reading. I actually took a speed reading class to learn to read faster. It helped a lot. Your article is also very helpful and inspires me to read more using your speed reading techniques.

Luis G Asuncion (author) from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 25, 2019:

Thanks Dale for commenting. And I am looking forward that you will get to know how fast you are reading a novel?

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on November 25, 2019:

This was a clever idea for an article, well done.

Luis G Asuncion (author) from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 20, 2019:

I suggest Crisilda that you have to read novels. Reading novels is very fun. You know what, the first I've read was War and Peace. It took me almost a year to finish.

Crisilda Payda on November 20, 2019:

I do not read novels. I only read articles.

Luis G Asuncion (author) from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 19, 2019:

Thanks Pamela for commenting... I do appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 19, 2019:

I love to read and this article is so interesting. Way back when I was in high school I took a 8 week course for speed-reading. I do not think I am a speed today but it depends what I am reading. I think reading 3 non-fiction books in 2 days is very good. I enjoyed your article.

Luis G Asuncion (author) from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 16, 2019:

I only encountered few people who are fast readers. Great to know that you are one of them.

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on November 15, 2019:

I am a very fast reader. I went on a speed reading course one time and my starting speed was higher than what some people finished at. Eventually I was measured at a reading speed of 1,000 words a minute at the end of the course. Of course I can't keep that up for long periods. Skimming text is a good way to gain an understanding of the content quickly, as well as reading whole sentences, rather than word by word.

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