Did you know that the average reading speed for an adult is 300 words per minute? That’s almost 5 words per second!
So, if it only took you 4.8 seconds to read the sentence above – then it should only take you 2 hours and 33 minutes to read The Great Gatsby, according to howlongtoreadthis.com, a site that gives you a rough estimate on how long it’d take to read any novel.
But, doesn’t that seem…insanely fast? That amount time spent reading, broken up over the course of a few days, or a week, seem more feasible, especially when How Long To Read This says Infinite Jest would only take 15 hours and 38 minutes to read! (When, this reader says it took them 3 months to get through the mammoth novel.)
How Long To Read This also provides a sample text you can read to give you an even more accurate idea of long it’d take. I took the sample they offered for The Great Gatsby: You read 113 words in 12 seconds and your average speed is 565 words per minute. It will take you 1 hour and 21 minutes to complete The Great Gatsby. — Wow! I’ve read The Great Gatsby in a single sitting before, but I’d estimate it took 3-4 hours, at least. When reading for speed, there’s a big part of comprehension that gets left behind, almost as if you’re missing out on the real story. At least, that’s how I feel when I’m reading fast. What’s the deal?
Some studies have claimed that any reading speeds over 500 WPM start to lower your reading comprehension, especially when reading dense texts. All in all, it looks like understanding what you’re reading comes down to your working memory, and that can depend on many other factors, some of which include physical stress, which can lower your reading comprehension. Here are some other tips for remembering what you’ve read, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction!
There are new technologies being developed to help us with speed reading, too. Take Spritz for example:
Keeping your eyes relaxed, Spritz presents the ‘Optimal Recognition Point’ of each word, letting you read the words as they appear, rather than moving your eyes to read further along the page. By keeping your eyes in place and optimizing the placement of each word, you’ll read (and hopefully remember) that much more! I wouldn’t be convinced that it worked unless I hadn’t tried out the 1000+ WPM speed, which I was (surprisingly) able to keep up with. There’s a cool browser extension you can download here that will let you Spritz any article/web page/website you’re currently on.