Careful reading, how in-house lawyers prefer to take in information, can’t be sped up

The Am. Scholar, Spring 2012 at 66, reveals how we read. Our eyes make hops, known as saccades, and for the 20 to 30 milliseconds of each we do not perceive anything, and then they fixate for 200 to 300 milliseconds. Thus, the absolute fastest any of us can read – actually read each word – is 500 words per minute. That assumes no comprehension beyond just identifying the word. “In practice, most of us read about 250 words per minute.”

The author emphasizes that so-called “speed reading” reduces to skimming, and skimming means attention to detail and absorption of it falls apart. Moreover, note that “the speed with which we read something is linked to our ability to remember it later.”

Sorry, the better way to pick up your reading pace is to select what you read with more care. You can read more here on reading (See my post of April 27, 2008: speed-reading is a myth; and July 14, 2009: better meetings through reading during them; June 16, 2010: drawbacks of hypertext reading; Oct. 22, 2010: reading is one of the least effective ways of learning.).

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