Discussion Post: What determines reading speed?

How do some people get through so many books in a week, a month, or a year? What are the factors that enable readers to speedily flip pages or others to make those pages just stick together?

1. Interest in Topic/ Genre:

Yeah, we’ve all had to read that science book or philosophy tome. “Read the 100 pages by next class.” And there you are the night before the discussion seminar making up any excuse… procrastinating by cleaning the bathroom. That is desperation!!!

2. Practice or Training: 

I know that I’ve become a better reader over the years just by y’know, reading! People who read every day continuously learn new vocabulary and get use to the rhythms of the written word.

I have to admit that I’m a little bit skeptical of my own ability to speed read, my own ability to take a course to train myself to read very, very quickly. I just don’t know if I could pick up every word on a page. And I’d suspect that there’s a lot of grey area between skimming and speed reading.

3. Distractions:

I try to make a conscious effort to put away all distractions (PHONE) when sitting down to read. I have to read in a quiet environment. No music or outside sounds. Kids in bed and asleep, which is easy now because they are young… we’ll see how my reading changes in a couple years.

4. Writing Type:

This is a pretty large category. Dialogue can be easy to read, but dense info dumps can slow a reader down significantly. Cliffhangers can spur on your reading, as can just simply good writing. Solid characters, good tension, and a unique premise in your preferred genre.

5. Mood:

I can definitely get burned out from reading at times. If I’m stressed out that can either get me to want to escape or so distracted that I can’t concentrate. Or I feel the strain of having too much on my TBR and I feel the need to rush from book to book… I’ve really started to take control of that in this new year. Slow down. Enjoy the experience. Stay in the moment!

What effects your reading speed?

32 thoughts on “Discussion Post: What determines reading speed?

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    1. It’s the other way round for me. When I find a number of inconsistent things to a character’s voice in the first person, it affects my reading speed. It’s either I re-examine the pages I already finished reading or drop the book altogether.

      Or I might have just read bad works in the first person lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve always been a slow reader, I can fly through a book but most of the time I’m rather slow.😂 I do think that I read first person books quicker though as I am only following one perspective rather than multiple and possibly multiple story threads too. Also, genre, for some reason I can read thrillers far quicker than fantasy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think distractions are what slows me down the most. I feel like I’m always being interrupted at home. Plus if a book isn’t grabbing me, I’m more likely to keep putting it down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh! That’s a great point. I find that in thrillers, which I can really zip through.

      I haven’t read a physical book since I started using NetGalley two years ago… It’s just so much easier for me to travel around my life with a Kindle.


  3. There are some techniques for reading quicker that use your peripheral vision and eye movements, there is also pacing with your finger that helps eliminate distractions. But, I think it has to do more with what you are reading. If you are reading something engrossing, you can read much faster then something boring just because you are into it and want to get to the next word and page. I am a pretty slow reader. I end up doing voices in my head for different characters and all sorts of stuff. It is more enjoyable but I know it slows my progress down significantly.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was having this discussion with a friend recently. Both of us are well-read individuals, and enjoy reading for pleasure. We are also both used to reading a lot of fiction and non-fiction for our university degrees. However, I read much quicker than he does. He mentioned he reads at a slower pace than me because he reads a book at the speed he would if he were reading it aloud, as he finds this helps him “absorb” the book better.

    I tend to read slowly if it’s a more difficult book to understand – be it a non-fiction book, or a classic novel. Generally speaking, though, I read books fairly quickly because I’ve become accustomed to it. Also, if the plot “grabs” me, I easily speed through it – I need to know what happens! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by!!

      I tried to stop “reading in my head” because people have told me that it slows me down, but I haven’t been successful. It’s probably why I need to read without any distractions/ noise.

      I totally agree! I find certain types of writing is so easy to read, while others I just slog through.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I miss my faster reading days. Ever since I got a wack sleep disorder, I have struggled with staying awake while reading and driving now, and it really is a pain. I gave up driving a couple of years ago, but reading is something I’m going to keep battling on with!


  6. Practice and training – and of course a lack of distractions – do certainly factor in, but my personal experience tells me that writing style and a commitment to story and characters influence heavily my reading speed. If an author keeps me interested, I can engage warp speed! 😁 😁


  7. These are all 100% true for me. Also the reading level and not just the genre but the…formulaic nature of some genres make it easier and quicker to get through some books? (like romances for example) I read a lot of books but I’m not actually a fast reader, I’m one of those people who has to say every word in their head so I just spend a lot of time reading lol. Great post!


  8. All those things affect my speed, but probably distractions more than anything! If I can focus, I am pretty fast. I also love short chapters- they help me read faster because they tend to be used in books with strong pacing. This was a fun post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think how much time someone has to devote to reading also factors in. That and, how much time do they spend doing other things, like watching television? The factors you list most certainly come into play as well, but someone who doesn’t watch TV and has more free time will probably get more reading done than someone who works two jobs and unwinds in front of the TV in her limited free time.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m definitely faster if I’ve connected with the storyline and characters. It feels like I need to get to the next word, page, and chapter. If a book grabs me in the first few pages, I whiz right through it. If it’s a stop & start beginning for me, I tend to drag through it. I usually finish but the speed and level of enjoyment is just not there.

    Liked by 1 person

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