So these last few days, I’ve decided to read Harry Potter in Spanish in order to keep myself in touch with the language while acquire vocabulary, not necessarily to “study”. My focus now has directed toward French, I haven’t “finished” Spanish I have just found myself at a level of basic fluency that I am moderately satisfied with for the time being. Now back to reading, today I was reading a chapter of Harry potter (more or less 4000 words) and it took me nearly an hour. Now my question is, is that fast? Normal? Slow? How quickly can you read? What are some things that can be done to speed up reading comprehension? Just reading more? Not that I’m not content with that pace of reading, I just always know there is room for improvement and would like to find out ways. Now this isn’t to debate about how well one can read, it’s more about the process of how one can improve reading comprehension speed.
Thanks, hopefully that makes sense it seems a little jumbled.
Also note this reading was done intensively here on LingQ
4000 words/hour, in your native language, is slow.
250 words/minute (15000 words/hour) is the average standard when people read in their native language.
Now, 4000 words/hour in your L2 is not bad, but a little bit slow, considering the fact that Spanish is written with the Latin alphabet, just like English.
I am pretty sure that the “problem” comes from what we call “sub-vocalization” : when you read, you pronounce the words/letters (= internal speech).
Stop sub-vocalizing and your reading speed will be MUCH faster !
The other thing to do is to widen your eye span : don’t read every single word independently, but read by chunks.
If you can read 2 words at once, your reading speed increases by 2 !
By combining these 2 methods (no sub-vocalizing and a wider eye span), you will be able to read at a rate of 800 words/minute in English, and around 400 words/minute in Spanish.
Keep in mind though that the content and complexity of the text can greatly change your reading speed…
Those are some good tips and thank you for the response. Also somethings that could contribute to the speed were distractions (texts, people in the house, etc.) I do sub-vocalize while I read and maybe I could practice trying not to say the word aloud in my head while reading. Hopefully over the course of a month and can double my reading speed? Maybe 4000 words in 30 minutes would be a big increase. I just officially set that goal for myself. Thanks for the tips again!
To give you an idea, here is what your first post looks like when you read it at (very) high speed (notice that all the short words as a/to/in/are/from/with/… are usually skipped while reading really fast) :
"… last few days, I’ve decided … read Harry Potter … Spanish … keep myself in touch with … language while acquire vocabulary, not necessarily … “study”. My focus … directed toward French, I haven’t “finished” Spanish I … found myself … level … basic fluency … I am moderately satisfied … for the time being. … back to reading, today I … reading … chapter … Harry potter (more … less 4000 words) … took me nearly an hour. … my question is, … fast? Normal? Slow? How quickly … you read? What … things … can be done … speed … reading comprehension? … reading more? … that I’m not content with … pace … reading, I just … know there … room … improvement and would like to find out ways. … isn’t to debate about how well … can read, it’s more about … process of how … can improve reading comprehension speed.
Another thing that can slow down your reading speed is the number of words that you are looking up as you read. When you open a chapter, what is the fraction of unknown words?
I read things in English to entertain myself, or learn some facts. In my foreign languages, this is only half the story, since my goal is to train my brain in the language. Since it is in large part a training exercise, it needs to be more deliberate that in English, and so my speed is deliberately slower. In fact, I would say that being able to read quickly in a foreign language is a sign that you are reading material that is too basic for you. When I find that I am reading quickly, I bump up to more difficult texts, which brings my pace back down again, and stretches me.
There is a lot of “unknown words” but most are actually just forms of the same word or I already know them, but I do seem to have to look up a lot of words which I believe is just part of the process.
@Jujulecaribou: “250 words/minute (15000 words/hour) is the average standard when people read in their native language.”
If that’s the case, I’d aim for about half that in a foreign language, so 7 to 8 thousand words an hour. At that speed, you are giving your brain time to reflect on what you’re reading, but not reading so slowly that reading War and Peace would be an impossible goal.