Sunday, May 20, 2012

Speed Reading

I started reading when I was just shy of three years old. I picked it up immediately and never had any learning issues. My vocabulary and spelling skills expanded just as rapidly. When I started kindergarten, I was bored out of my mind. My teacher - and I'll always love her for this - decided to test me instead of dismissing me as some kid with ADD. I'm so glad I started school before doctors started drugging children.


After administering some tests, which I honestly don't remember, she determined I could read and spell at the fifth grade level. No wonder I was bored!

My parents told me I could start in the first grade right away. I'd only been in kindergarten for three weeks. I liked it because it was fun, but it really did seem baby-ish. I clearly remember being bored out of my mind when she had all of us come up, in order, to use the pointer and point at all of the differently-colored elephants around the room. When you pointed at an elephant, you had to state which color it was. Many of the kids struggled, but some did okay. I was sick and tired of waiting for my turn. This was so easy! Finally, she handed me the pointer, and (probably to prove a point) I ran all around the perimeter of the room yelling, "Orange! Red! Yellow! Green! Blue! Purple! Black! Grey! Brown! White!" while I slapped the pointer on each elephant.

That was kindergarten to me. Endless days of waiting for everyone to figure it out and wishing we could MOVE ON.

Moving to the first grade had its pros and cons. I was finally learning new things, and I felt like I was on an even keel with my classmates. Unfortunately, the teacher kept making a huge deal about how smart I was and said things like, "Did you hear Sarah read that? That's how I want all of you to read. Catch up!" The fact she was a 132-year old nun probably didn't help matters. Nuns don't have filters. I won every classroom spelling bee, and (as you can imagine) all of the kids hated me. I had very few friends. I started losing spelling bees on purpose, just so they wouldn't tease me anymore. I tried to blend into the background as much as possible. I stopped raising my hand.

Fast forward a couple years. Now I'm into paperbacks, and I'm finishing them at lightning speed. My dad kept saying, "How can you even enjoy the story? Do you even remember anything? Slow down and enjoy the book." It was more out of disbelief than criticism. My dad was very proud of me; in fact, he's the one who taught me how to read. We used to go to the library all the time when I first started reading, and he made a game out of reading words backwards. I thought it was just fun and silly, but he was actually teaching me how to sound things out rather than memorizing the way words look.

This continued into adulthood. I still finish books at a breakneck pace. Sometimes, I wish I didn't. I'd love to savor a book for a few days. I'm always so sad when I look forward to getting a new book, only to have it finished in a few hours.

I found this test on someone's Facebook today. I scored 1257 words per minute.

How did you do?

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

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