A new test has cheered me up by calculating that I'm quick, but left me wondering what I miss. How do others add up?
Brilliant. Apparently I read 889 words per minute, which makes me 256% faster than the national average. Try it out: this site has been doing the rounds on Twitter, and it is fun, especially if you are competitive about how fast you read (like me).
Obviously, I don't read even nearly that quickly when I'm not trying my hardest. "If you maintained this reading speed, you could read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy in 11 hours and 1 minute," I am told. Well, I think if I maintained that speed, my brain would combust, and I was cheating a bit … but I know I am quite fast, and I did manage to answer their questions on the text correctly. I've just taken it again, and this time I read 939 words per minute, making me 276% faster than the national average. This time, though, the extract was the start of Alice in Wonderland … so it was easy.
Reading fast is both a curse and a blessing. It means that when I get in the zone, I'm hardly aware of the words on the page, I'm just inhabiting the story … until I realise this is what I'm doing, and am jolted out into reality. But it also means, I think, that books slip out of my memory as quickly as they went in, and that I don't spend hours contemplating the beauty of a perfectly crafted sentence.
How about you? Fast or slow reader? And how (she asks, competitively) did you do on the test?
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image: © Kate Ter Haar