“Just Read Faster!”

I have not always been the best reader. I imagine my difficulty spelling has something to do with my reading struggles as a child. When I was in grade school I was always in the lowest reading classes. Of course when we students figured out we were separated by ability our teachers denied it (I guess they were concerned with our self-esteem or something). By the time I was in 4th grade I figured out how to play the system. I could not draw the meaning out of text that was longer than 2 or 3 sentences. Reading really was a waste of my time and efforts. I did learn, however, that the teacher would repeat what you were supposed to learn from the reading assignments. If you remember these keys, then you could pass the tests. In 4th grade I went from the lowest reading level to the second lowest. In 5th grade they were wise enough to place me in the lowest level again, but within 2 months I moved up two reading levels, second from the top.

In 6th grade, they just placed me in the second of the four reading levels. This class became torture for me, we had to read books in class independently. My teacher noticed there was a problem. I was reading 1 book in the time it took my classmates to read 3 and 4 books. I assume she just thought I was lazy since she came over to my desk and told me, “Scott you have to read faster!”

But how?! I faked my way through reading assignments on through high school. I thought my brain and thinking were normal, I had no idea how bad of a reader I was. As a senior I took the ACT and scored in the 91 percentile of the country in Math and Science. My English score was so poor my composite was only 17.

Now I knew I had a problem, I discovered I read at 50 words per minute, with 50% comprehension. Average is about 160-200 wpm. I was functionally illiterate, even though I had managed to be an honor student. This is to say nothing against public education, since my attitude was part of the problem (several years after graduation I told one of my English teachers this, and she was both shocked and sorry because she had no idea). As a senior, I had a choice to make:

  1. Do nothing and make do, or
  2. Learn to read

Long story short. I started a speed reading program I had seen in a magazine as a freshman. I worked at it everyday for 2 months. After 2 months I could read at about 500 words per minute at 80% comprehension. Reading is now one of my favorite activities.

As a minister how often have I been like my 6th grade reading teacher assuming people are just lazy as I command them, “Just remember the Bible!” What I am discovering as I speak to people about Store up His Word, is that there are people in church who have a desire to read and remember the Bible, they just haven’t learned how to. For those who have the desire and are willing to put in the time and effort, they can learn to be more effective and efficient in their Bible study. Store up His Word is an effective method to teach them.


Have you had any similar experiences?

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