Trouble with keeping a high reading speed

I have been told that reading speed should be around twice as fast writing speed. Well I’m having issues, cause even though my writing is now up to 90wpm even on relatively new material, my reading speed on new material is a hanging at that at or below that mark, both with my own shorthand and that from a book.

I suspect the solution is to do speed drills in reading just as I do speed drills in writing. I have actually read a lot of shorthand, a lot from the ‘Graded readings’ and I read the whole of Alice in Wonderland. If theres anything thats holding me back from using shorthand more often — and I already use it a lot, is the fact that reading it is quite slow.

(by michael_lisitsa
for everyone)

13 comments Add yours
  1. Try reading out loud to see where you're having problems. Read it like you're reading a story to a kid.

    Yes, it's slower than reading to yourself as fast as you can, but it's also pickier. It's like taking dictation, in that you need to read ahead slightly, to get a feel for the context and how to emphasize things. That might highlight which areas you need to concentrate on. Also, have a highlighter handy. Highlight the words / phrases and see if there's a pattern. Is it brief forms, common words, phrases, new stuff, pre/suffixes ? Recording yourself while you read out loud is even more revealing. Like taking dictation vs copying from longhand, it catches "hidden" pauses.

    It's not the only tool in the box, but I find it's a very useful one.


  2. I think one area that majorly helps but gets no attention from the self-taught pen writer is the transcription of notes back into longhand. I have to transcribe my notes all the time for tests, and that with the good bit of reading back I have to do in class has made me get faster and faster at reading.
    At my school, they emphasize reading back as fast or faster than you wrote. If that's still difficult, then try taking a short passage (30 seconds), then reading it back as fast as you can so you have your memory aiding your deciphering 🙂
    The point is that if you're learning shorthand on your own, you probably have no reason to really push reading speed, but it's just as important! Pretend you have to stop and read back every minute or so, with your bosses/lawyers waiting 🙂

  3. It sounds like you're at the point where you are deciphering outlines, rather than reading them as a whole by shape, without having to bread the outline down into it's constituent parts.  This is what you do with text – you read the shape of the the words, not the individual letters.   I had the same problem as you, and what I did was read the same passage back again and again.  Each reading went faster, and even though memory played some part, I was still imprinting the outlines in my memory.    You could try going over and over a page of Alice in Wonderland, say.  You will start to read outlines by their shape, rather than their letters.  It will "click" at some point and you'll start to see your reading speed accelerate.  You also need to practice this reading your own shorthand, so you can get used to your own idiosyncracies.  It will come, honest.  I read my shorthand almost as fluently as text now.

  4. I have come across a way that might help, by dragging your pen across the page, and even if you are getting caught on some words, you leave them behind and keep with the general pace of the pen.
    Cause I think what usually happens is your mind gets caught on outlines and it ruins any pace or rhythm that you might have. If you have to keep up with the pen, you learn to take mere glances at words and learn to recognize them instead of deciphering them.
    I am gonna try to keep this up when reading any type of shorthand.

  5. Another idea is to reread some old lessons.  Go back to your orignal lesson manual an reread some of those.  I've done that to help me with Gregg.  Sometimes I do it when I'm being lazy or just to refresh my memory on some things (like the omitted R in Anniversary).  this will help you review the outlines and see that you aren't reading too poorly.  Plus it builds your confidence in reading new material.  And you will read it faster and your mind will know the outline so when you do write it or read it elsewhere, you can write and read it quickly.  Debbi

  6. Just an update in regard to reading:

    Firstly in case you haven't drawn attention to this in the front of the anniversary manual,

    "Mr Albert Schneider won first place, defeated three former champions, and established two world's records. He transcribed the 215-words a minute literary dictation with a net speed of 211.2 words a minute; accuracy 98.32%."

    I was trying to think what was 211 words a minute? I checked what a 220 wpm dictation sounded like and its quite a solid pace to be reading out such a fast dictation.


    I also wanted to mention in regards to importance of good reading ability — when writing shorthand it is not long before you overtake longhand and anyone you show this to will attest that in fact you are writing faster than longhand. But with reading, you are always playing a catch up game to the speed of longhand. Anyone who hears you read will compare it to the speed that they read longhand and will not be too impressed.

    So in summary, we can't say gregg is superior to longhand before we are able to read as fast as longhand. Only then will shorthand no longer be a 'trade-off' but a genuine advantage. Another reason to dedicate more time to reading.

  7. I think reading shorthand has always been a problem.  I use to have old secretary books which had looking for work chapters in them and the resume would have the shorthand speed and transcription speed and the shorthand speed was a lot faster then the transcription speed.  Sometimes very noticable.

  8. The reading speed increases the more you read shorthand. You are in fact learning a new set of characters, so those have to become second nature so that your reading ability increases. It takes a lot of practice and time. It's like learning another language: no one will be impressed at how you read/speak/write it at the beginning, but later on you will be proficient.

  9. Is that right?
    My mum likes me to read the "Wits and Wags" section of the Gregg Writer which is usually one of the last pages and has humorous (for the 1940s) jokes in shorthand. She then tells them to all her friends. She loved this one in Feb 46 issue:

  10. When reading shorthand, I often have to read a section twice, especially if it begins with outlines that have more than one interpretation. I started reading the joke as " pay : Will soon house ??? marks" Easy enough to figure out on the second pass, but it still takes two passes. When reading longhand I "carry" several words, so I guess I'll eventually develop that ability when reading shorthand, so I can "read ahead" enough to get the context, before my voice catches up.


  11. Ha. I'm sure pros make such mistakes sometimes, but you get good at context just as you get good at reading outlines.
    Remember how hard it was in the first chapters to try to figure out such simple sentences:

    "He and I will meet you at the end of the lake at two" Huge potential for reading this wrong but for some reason your mind just learns the patterns and you get it right. Back when you were up to Unit 2 it was probably much harder.

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