• For those with wings fly to your dreams

    Speed Reading, always a good thing?

    When I was a kid I loved to read. That is not so unusual for an only child. I was also a very good reader and read super-fast. By the time I was in 4th grade, I read on a college level.  Each summer I probably breezed through 4 dozen books.  And I don’t mean 4 dozen Nancy Drew books, though I read a fair share of Nancy Drew (Babysitters club too).  H.G Wells, Robert Heinlein, Charles Dickens, Octavia Butler, the list goes on and on. 

    In school when health problems had me out of class, I still had good marks. I would go home and read the assigned reading. In the case of history, I read the whole textbook during the first month of the year.  To this day, I retain information much better when I read it as oppose to someone telling me.  

    There are 3 things that helped me become a good reader and one of them is coming back to bite me as an adult. Learning by phonics, studying Latin, and being a speed reader.  It’s hard to describe speed reading to people who don’t.  I don’t read word by word, I just sort of see the whole paragraph all at once and notice things.

    Up until recently, I always consider speed reading a plus. That is till I had to start writing more.  Short reports, Medium reports, lots of emails that need to be both technically accurate and straightforward for wide audience.  Writing and proofreading have been tough.  Obviously, engineers aren’t naturally the best writers in the world. I aim to be “the engineer that everyone can understand”. So I’ve been taking some online writing classes to improve. My writing is something that as I do it more, it improves.  No longer do I write sentences such as:

     “There were 3 domestic hot water heaters that heat water to make it hot” <- #truestory -_-

     However, my proofreading skills seemed to going nowhere. Then it hit me, I am speed-reading through my own work.  Of course, I am going to miss the odd missing word, commas, slight spelling errors.  I’m conditioning myself to read my work slower while still maintaining my speed reading skills.  It is a process but I can already tell a difference. In addition, it helps me understand the flow of the sentences and I can draw from that for my own writing.

    So to any of my fellow speed readers, to quote a current popular rap song “Slow down, you know you can't catch me. I move too fast on the gas, don't chase me. Slow down. ..This is how we do it in Northern California”

    …don’t ask

    till next time,



    About me

    I'm a 20-something Southern girl living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've been working in the wild and wacky world of non-profit green construction in one way or the other for over 3 years. I'm also the owner of Oakland's own Engineered Cupcake.