One of my constant frustrations is the speed at which I read. It’s slow going and I often have to re-read complex stuff to aid understanding. Novels can take ages and technical work can be slowed down. This was brought into focus yesterday when I saw a news report about J K Rowling‘s new novel. The report showed someone who could speed read to the point where they’d finished the novel in 42 minutes.
The interesting thing is that speed reading can actually aid understanding of the subject matter. A few years ago I went on a speed reading course and found this really worked but even with practice my speed didn’t increase dramatically. Obviously with the level of reading I’m now embarking on I’m thinking about tactics I can use. For most of my previous academic work I didn’t know that I had dyslexia so my coping strategy was not conscious. However, there definitely was one and it was based on making things as simplistic as possible and therefore saving time. The effect of this was to often skim material for important quotations without always having the back up of a deep understanding of the text or rather I could have had a deeper understanding than I had.
This time it’s very different, partly because I’m already grounded in the subject matter but also because I’m aware of the situation. Within a few days I should have access to some pretty nifty software that will allow me to scan material onto the PC and then have it read back to me as I read along on-screen. This is the opposite of speed reading and in no way constitutes a simplistic coping strategy. It’s going to take precious time. But that’s dyslexia for you. You have to put that extra time and effort in to be able to perform as well as others. Whilst I haven’t given up entirely on speed reading I’m looking forward to being able to report back on how the software works and how it develops as I study.