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Is It OK To Be A Slow Reader?

It all depends on what your goal is when reading. Sometimes it can be good to read slowly. There are times you have to read faster. In general, you can say that it is perfectly fine to be a slow reader. As long as you get the information from your text, you are doing great!

Do you feel your reading speed is hindering you from moving forward? Start investigating it! Why are you reading too slowly? Does it have to do with the book you read? Or are your reading habits hindering you? Perhaps you don’t like to read the book you have to read. Are you a perfectionist? Do you need to understand everything before you continue with the next sentence? All of this influences how fast you can read.

In this article, you receive more information about reading slower and what you can do about it. 

What Causes Someone To Be A Slow Reader?

Reading slower can be caused by many things. It can be:

  • the book you read
  • your state of mind
  • your environment
  • genetics
  • you feel the book is too difficult
  • you don’t feel well
  • you get distracted by things around you… 

All of this can reduce your reading speed… a lot…

First of all, I want to say that it is ok to be a slow reader. Who defines if you are a slow reader? Don’t let anyone call you a slow reader. You only have to compare yourself with your future and past self. If you are reading faster than yesterday, you are getting faster! And how can you meet the speed of your future self? No, I don’t mean you in 5-10 years. Start small and see if you can read a little bit faster tomorrow. How can you do that?

As you now know, there can be many causes of reading slower. Most of them are easily fixed.

  • When you don’t understand the book and the words they are using? Start improving your vocabulary
  • When you feel sleepy, get a good night of sleep and continue then. You may also take a 15-minute nap or do some light exercising. This will help your mind clear up.
  • When perfectionism is bothering you in reading faster, change your routine. Stop looking for the details to figure out what the big picture looks like. Start big and connect smaller ideas and details to the big picture. 
  • Is your environment distracting you? Find a study room and sit there. You can go to the library or even sit in your car. If reading is all you have to do, you can almost always find a spot to sit without people around you. And make sure your phone is in airplane mode. This does wonders as well.

The moment you start doing these things, you will be able to focus a lot better on your reading. This helps you to read faster. 

Even when you do all of that, you may still not be a fast reader. What helps is that you can start to master new reading techniques and strategies. For instance, tell yourself you are no longer allowed to re-read parts or sentences you just read. This simple commitment will make you focus even more. The result is usually higher reading speeds. 

And then… if even this isn’t working for you… you should let me know. Contact me and I will help you personally. You can read faster than you are doing right now. In fact, you should be reading faster. It will make you a better reader.

Remember that your reading speed doesn’t determine if you are a bad reader or a bad student. Do you enjoy what you do? Do you learn the right pieces of information from your book? If so, you are reading well enough. Reading speed does not equal reading comprehension!

Is Being A Slow Reader A Bad Thing?

As you might have guessed from the previous part… being a slow reader is definitely not a bad thing. There are plenty of people who read slower than “average”. They are perfectly fine in getting the right information from their book. Slow readers may have better comprehension because they take the time to read thoroughly. 

Fast readers may not take their time to connect everything they read. They may not even see everything as clearly as a slow reader!

Don’t think that reading slowly is always a good thing. You can also read too slowly. This usually happens when people overthink what they are reading. It is important to understand that reading is nothing more than decoding the words on the page. After decoding them, you have the information downloaded into your memory. Stop trying to analyze and download the text at the same time. 

After you have read the page, you take a few moments to carefully think about what you read. Analyze. Think. Understand what you read. Do you understand everything? Are you able to recall and tell in your own words what you’ve read?

If so, you are ready to take a few notes (when needed), and carry on! Start reading the next page or section.

Read more: Why Is My Reading Speed So Slow?

For some context… most people read between 150 and 250 words per minute. This means that at the “slower” end, you would be reading a page from an average study book in about 2 minutes. This may be slow or fast. It all depends on what you learn from the page. Are you already an expert in the field you study? 150 words per minute are probably considered slow when you read a beginner’s book. A school student probably finds a book on quantum mechanics too difficult. They would not be reading it with 150 words per minute. Perhaps 20 to 40 words per minute would be on the high side… 

Remember that it is all about context and how fast you are reading. 

use your big brain


Reading is a very personal activity these days. You read in silence to get through a book. When you do this slower than others, no problem! You should only compare yourself with… yourself! Improve your reading tactics. Make sure you are well-rested. Try to get the most out of the book in the least amount of time when you are studying. This means you don’t have to become a speed reader. You need to become an effective reader!

When you are reading effectively, you focus on comprehension first. Reading slowly and taking a lot of time may not feel good. Yet reading fast while forgetting most information is really, really sad.

Read more: Is Speed Reading Effective For Studying?

Use the tips in this article to become a more effective reader. If you still have questions, let me know and I will help you.  

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