How fast can you read and maintain high comprehension? Many people read text to themselves quietly as they read, and this slows them down significantly. Faced with a deluge of information, people try to speed up the number of words they can read by taking huge gulps, or by shortening the words by killing off vowels or even small whole words, which is common for electronic texting. However, speeding up the number of words you can read doesn’t necessarily help with your comprehension, and certainly killing off vowels or small words must be evil on some level or another. (Reference Dante’s Inferno). When we as lawyers read the Constitution, statutes, contracts, or simply common documents, reading faster is at cross purposes to good understanding, because structure, punctuation, and word choices that give nuance and clarity can be lost in a race to the finish line. Therefore, racing is usually not found to be in the attorney’s interest, because then consideration of the client’s matter can be lost in the shuffle.
However, and somewhat surprising to me, my results after being presented and reading a page from Alice in Wonderland were not only that I had answered the three questions correctly, but that “[I] read 655 words per minute. That makes [me] 162% faster than the national average.” Maybe I should read Alice more often?
If you’re interested in your own reading speed, you can measure it here: