Speed reading with Peter Kump

In @strickvl’s thread about reading 150 books during 2015

The subject of speed reading came up, and he recommended the book “Breakthrough Rapid Reading” by Peter Kump.

A few of us have begun reading the book, so this is a thread to ask questions and share your experiences going through it.

My copy of the book has arrived and I’ve started going through it as part of my general ‘read more’ goal. Which (at the time of writing) is set to a modest half an hour a week with an autoratchet set up so that I can never build up more than 3 days buffer.

1 Like

Holy crow. Just three short practice sessions in and Kump has more than doubled my reading speed.

Naturally, I have a Beeminder goal to encourage me to carry on through the book’s chapters.

update: Kump, not Krump


How’s your practice going and getting through the Kump book?

1 Like

Kump is excellent. Thanks so much for the recommendation.

I’m very lazily working my way through it, with a goal slope of one chapter per week, whereas the official programme calls for six chapters per week, iirc, and suggests far more practice than I’m doing.

Nonetheless, it’s remarkable. My comfortable reading speed has tripled with no reduction in comprehension. My retention is also unchanged, which is to say, as lousy as before [1], but I have an expectation that the remaining exercises will continue to strengthen that.

My reading habits are in flux: I used to read while eating meals, that’s harder to do if I were to use a guiding finger. So my eating-reading is shifting toward already-purchased ebooks, or to keeping up with foreign-language reading. Neither of those seems amenable to using a guiding finger anyway.

Scott Young also recommends Kump, partly as a means of rapidly assessing what parts of a book you want / need to read more carefully. That seems consistent with Kump’s stress on determining the purpose for any given reading. In learning on steroids, Scott writes:

What speed reading should enable you to do is:

  1. Be able to increase your comprehension at higher reading speeds.
  2. Teach you when to slow down and when to speed up, so you get the most value from your reading time.

Beneficial example: a friend handed me a philosophy book and said, can you just read this while I’m on another call, because I think it’s relevant to our work. I managed a quick 72 pages, capturing enough of the gist to apply it to the afternoon’s discussions.

[1] I rely heavily on anki cards to remind me of things that I want to remember from any source, whether quotes, books, concepts, ideas, faces, etc. It’s not always easy to remember to make the cards, though.


Okay, the two of you have me convinced to look at this book. It is now ordered.

@philip I’d love to hear about your Anki setup. (Though, maybe you could DM or email me so that I’m not derailing the thread.)


Alright my copy of Kump just arrived, let’s do this!


I’m on board too, thanks to this thread.


This is great. The real results will be all the books you read after you’re done with the book. I breezed through a whole bunch after I got comfortable with the techniques used in the book.

Ok, you’ve all convinced me, I’ll order the book too.

1 Like

Okay so far even four chapters in has been a surprising increase in terms of WPM, and with just the simple change of using your finger under the line. If it was that easy why wasn’t I told this sooner?

1 Like

I was surprised how much of a difference just that single thing made, too.

Now that I’m into the portion where there’s Chapter PLUS the exercises, I think I need to modify the goal text to indicate a certain minimum number of exercises to do in addition to reading the chapter. Or would I be better off doing a minimum amount of time instead?

I also have turned down the rate from 7 chapters/week to 6, since I almost derailed after visiting family last weekend.

Rather than tracking chapters, I’m just counting ‘sessions’, so that I repeatedly engage with the method, to keep it from falling by the wayside.

i.e. I’m counting the number of days on which I do some of the exercises


Yep I’d agree with that. It’s more important that you’re taking the time to practice, esp using your finger, pushing your speeds, than how much you’re getting done.

1 Like

I’m tracking how many intentions I accomplish on my Complice “learn to speed-read” goal, focusing on practicing and repeating the exercises, rather than marching through the chapters. (So – sessions, like @philip, but with more UI around it.) It appears to be a pretty good metric, since I have been completely ignoring this goal and my beeminder graph reflects this…

I’ve found that the Kump finger method is incredible for reading paper books, but weirdly unpleasant for reading on my laptop; unfortunately, I do almost none of my reading on paper. Something about the light of the screen makes my finger itself look-- jerky? It’s annoying enough that it takes conscious effort to start finger-reading, and then I’ll stop without realising it.

But even with those drawbacks it definitely makes me read much faster, so I’ll be continuing onwards! Added the next exercise to my intentions for the day.


I’m glad I have the old non-touch-screen Kindle. The new ones are so sensitive that if you tried using the Kump finger on them you’d be skipping through the pages.

1 Like

Yeah I had the same realization when Amazon offered to have me trade in my 5th Gen Kindle for credit towards a newer one- all the newer ones are touchscreen. Makes me a bit concerned that non-touchscreen versions may someday not be an option.

It certainly seems to be heading in that direction. Might be worth adopting the same behaviour as long-distance runners, who buy trainers in sets of 5 or 10 given that certain models are often discontinued.

Maybe a glove would help with speed reading on touchscreens. I haven’t tried speed reading, but I use gloves when I work with a stylus on my iPad. This allows me to rest my palms on the iPad’s touchscreen without it being registered by the touchscreen.