Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Art of Slow Reading

I am not surprised by the comments on my post from the other day on "Theodore Roosevelt and Speed Reading". No one responded that they read to Get Things Done. We are members of the Slow Reading Movement.

If this were a business blog or a blog that wanted to help one rush through life, then speed reading would be de rigueur. If we were all having to read professional journals (horrors) and 20 newspapers per day (more horrors), we would need to be reading in the Fast Lane. 

But, reading for pleasure and reading for speed seem to be the antithesis of each another. We Slow Readers want to savor the words, think about what we have read, and even - good grief - reread passages.

All to the good, I say.

I discovered that the average adult reads 250 words per minute and I found a reading-speed calculator online. Here is the formula:

--Open a book.

--Count the number of words in three lines and divide by three. This figure is your WPL or Words Per Line

--Count the number of lines on a page. This figure is your LPP or Lines Per Page.

--Multiply the WPL by the LPP. This figure is your WPP or Words Per Page.

--Read for a set amount of time, say 15 minutes.

--Count the number of full, half, and quarter pages you read.  (I would just make sure you read at a spot in the book that contained full pages of text. Why complicate matters with more math!)

--Multiply the number of pages you read in that time by the WPP. This figure is your Total Number of Words.

--Divide the number of minutes you read into the Total Number of Words. This figure is your WPM or Words Per Minute.

So, if you read 10 pages each containing 400 words per page (which would equal 4000 words) in 15 minutes, your WPM would be 267. 

Or you could just practice the Art of Slow Reading, enjoy the book, and forget about the math. Plan on it.


  1. Belle, this sounds so complicated.:) But, yes, I am into the slow reading movement. I know some people read very fast, and I envy them, but it depends so much on what I am reading. I would never have been able to do speed reading. I would have missed too much.

    1. I agree, Kat. I had to read through the instructions, slowly, a couple of times. It reminded me of those word math problems in school...if you have 10 oranges and 3 apples and one of each rolls off the table how many bananas are left!! Bananas?