“That was all God-given talent.”

A couple of months ago, Emily asked me something about how I read so fast, and during the course of the conversation I realized that everyone doesn’t read like I do. When I am reading a book, I read sentences or phrases all at once, instead of reading individual words one at a time. Until she asked me about this, I had no idea that the way I read isn’t the way that everyone reads. The only time I have had any inkling that I do things differently than some people is when people are reading out loud and I can hear from word to word that they don’t know what is coming next. When I read out loud, I am usually saying one sentence out loud as I am reading the next, so I can stay ahead. I was trying to explain it to her, saying I take the whole line in at once, give or take some words, and she was like, “How do you do that?” “I don’t know,” I told her.

Since then, I’ve been taking polls among my friends, who often ask me how I read so fast. Many of the people who feel they don’t read fast enough do the word-by-word thing, and many of them also say that they “hear” each word in their head, which also takes longer. Mike often talks about how he wishes I could teach him to be a faster reader, but I always tell him that I don’t know how I do it, so I don’t know how to teach it. In desperation, I brought home a speed-reading book, thinking it might give him some tips (but honestly not having a whole lot of faith in it). One morning while I was eating breakfast, I started flipping through it (that whole, “I have to be reading something at all times and this is what’s available” thing I do) and I saw at the end there was a checklist. The first two things were, “I have learned how to read in sentences or phrases instead of individual words,” and, “I have learned not to ‘hear’ the words in my head.” So Mike’s been right all along – these are things people can learn. I had no idea.

There’s not really any point to this, except that maybe it’s funny how surprised I can be that everyone doesn’t do things the way I do. And, if you feel like you read too slowly, maybe one of those speed-reading books can actually help you. I guess we’ll find out . . . if Mike ever has the time to read it. hehe.

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