6. Reading speed

To get an indication of you reading speed before you start training you should do the following:

· Print out the text at the bottom of this page – or read it directly from the screen.

· Read as much as you can in the following texts during three minutes.

· Make the point where you managed to read to with a pen. Thereafter read the remaining paragraphs.

· After each paragraph in the left margin there is a number showing the reading speed in words per minute.

Make a note of your own reading speed (words per minute) before and after training.

Gold has always attracted people. At the start of the twentieth century, and during the nineteenth century, thousands of men went to the West of the United States, looking for gold. The "Gold Rush" lasted, on and off, for, sixty or seventy years, then it finished.


But today, there are still men and women out in the West, looking for gold, as Andrew Rossiter found out.


Atlantic city Wyoming. It was a blistering hot day in summer. The track leading to "Atlantic City" (Wyoming) was dry and bumpy, and great clouds of dust blew up behind the car. In 1870, Atlantic City was a prosperous town, with several thousand inhabitants, mostly men. It was a strange place to find a town, mind you, hidden in little gulch in the middle of a wide scrub desert.


Atlantic City began life as a staging post on one of the transcontinental trails, taken by emigrants en route for California. Soon however it became a roaring gold town, where people could make (or lose) their fortunes in a day. Few did make a fortune; many found enough gold to keep them happy, but a lot found nothing, or nothing much.


Then, about seven years after the gold rush began, it finished. Suddenly, it seemed that there was no gold left in the ground. The miners packed their tools, their pans, and their bags, and went off somewhere else, to try their luck again. There were no more emigrants either; as soon as the first transcontinental railroad had opened in 1869, the old emigrant trails had been completely abandoned. 


The hotels closed, the shops closed, the bars closed, the jail closed; and before long, Atlantic City was a ghost town, uninhabited except by the occasional rancher or hunter, and the wandering coyotes. I didn't expect to find much in Atlantic City. I knew that a few people lived there again now, some of the old houses had been restored, and others had been built. But I didn't expect much.


We drove round a dusty bend, and there in front of us lay the town, a couple of dozen wooden buildings, some old, some new, and mostly pretty plain.


Surprisingly there was a fire-station; then, in the middle of the town, a wooden "saloon". A drink, I thought, something to drink at last.


More good text for reading at Linguapress