Advice for Slow Readers

by John Starke

Compared to many, I am a slow reader. I have spent hours on speed-reading techniques to no avail. It’s embarrassing to read something together with my wife, since she usually gets a few paragraphs ahead pretty quickly. I can imagine the disappointment she feels to have to wait at the end of each page. It’s also frustrating to see many close friends moving along quickly down their reading lists, overwhelming me with “must read” suggestions. Maybe you’ve felt the same way.

For a few years now, I’ve used a reading plan that has helped me get through a pretty good number of books every month, despite my setback of being a slow reader. For the frustrated and overwhelmed readers, here are a few suggestions.

Read in 15 minute segments.

The maxim of “do everything in the 15-minute periods of time, because the hours never come” is certainly true–especially for parents with small children. I try to follow that wisdom with my reading plan. Usually, at 10:45 a.m., I’ll stop what I’m doing and spend 15 minutes reading. After my 15 minutes is up I go back to what I was doing. I do the same at 2:45 p.m.. I can maybe get 30 pages read with both slots (I told you I was a slow reader). If I do that over every day of the week, that’s 150 pages—a small book or half of a big one. That is 150 extra pages I usually don’t have read by the end of the week. It doesn’t seem like much, but it goes a long way when it seems like there’s never any reading time.

Get up 40 minutes earlier.

I don’t mean to sound like a Puritan, but early in morning is the best time to knock out a big chunk of a book. We have a 2-, 3-, and 5-year-old and once they’re up, kiss any quiet and focused time goodbye. So after devotions, I usually try to set aside at least 40 minutes of reading of time. My computer, iPhone, Twitter, Facebook, and all other distractions are still tucked away. By the time I’ve moved from my devotions to reading a book, I’m on my second cup of coffee. My brain has ceased from lagging.

Use the odd times to read.

At the gym, I usually spend 30 minutes on the bicycle. Instead of listening to music or watching the horrible Hollywood news on the TV screens, I bring along a book. Because I’m exercising, and my rebelling, out-of-shape muscles can distract me, I usually bring a biography or some good classic piece of fiction that doesn’t take too much brain power…

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Advice for Slow Readers – The Gospel Coalition Blog

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