Reading Fast(er)

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Ondes Martenot
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Reading Fast(er)

Post by Ondes Martenot » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:16 am

Hey-so we've been talking at RPI about putting in a bid for SCT's next year, and given the history of bidding in the region would almost certainly be awarded one. One of my biggest concerns about hosting Sectionals is a lack of readers who can consistently get through at least 20 tossups a round. What tips do people have for getting through more questions in a round?
Aaron Cohen, Bergen County Academies '08, RPI '12, NYU-???, NAQT writer, HSAPQ writer, PACE writer

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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by setht » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:14 am

Ondes Martenot wrote:Hey-so we've been talking at RPI about putting in a bid for SCT's next year, and given the history of bidding in the region would almost certainly be awarded one. One of my biggest concerns about hosting Sectionals is a lack of readers who can consistently get through at least 20 tossups a round. What tips do people have for getting through more questions in a round?
Enforce the time limits: prompt teams for bonus answers at 4 seconds and cut things off if you don't get an answer by 5, kill tossups that sit for 3 seconds at the end, and call time if someone takes more than 2 seconds after ringing in to start giving an answer (and "this is.. that guy.. with the face.." doesn't count as starting to give an answer). If readers have trouble estimating these times, have them look at watches or something to keep themselves on track. Assuming you have readers that don't stumble over words a whole lot, I think they'll be fine as long as they keep things moving.

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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:17 am

And if you do have readers who trip over words a lot, I'm pretty sure most teams would rather hear more tossups with a few words butchered than too few tossups with a moderator trying to get every words just right.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:15 am

Most important thing to finishing any round on time, ever, under any format, etc., is to have readers not allow games to be delayed by things not essential to finishing the game, primarily talk between questions
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by vcuEvan » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:24 am

Fred wrote:Most important thing to finishing any round on time, ever, under any format, etc., is to have readers not allow games to be delayed by things not essential to finishing the game, primarily talk between questions
This is absolutely right. Just continue reading immediately and anyone who tries to talk will have to shut up if they want to hear the question. There's also this thing a lot of moderators do where they'll take a long pause between the tossup and bonus for no real reason. The best way to correct these things is to get plenty of practice fixing them, so try to have everyone read at practice under simulated game conditions.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:45 am

Some other tips when reading NAQT questions:

Use a pen to cross out the question you just read. This will make it easier for you to determine what tossup or bonus you're on when you switch back to the sheet. If you get to the last question on a page, try to switch the page in the middle of reading the next tossup or bonus.

Also, a general tip for reading out loud is to try to read a few words ahead in your mind. This will alert you of tricky upcoming words and will help you see pronunciation guides.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Kyle » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:58 am

I think you should also tell people not to worry if they don't get through 20. Obviously they should try, but every game is different and it doesn't always happen. For one thing, how many questions you get through in a game often depends more on the teams who are playing (are they getting tossups early and answering bonuses fast, or do you have to read to the end and prompt them for bonus answers?) than on the moderator. I'm an experienced moderator and I can go at a consistently fast pace, but at the SCT there was one game where I only got through 18 followed by a game where I managed 24. That's just how it works out sometimes. Because I had told other staffers that their goal should be to get through twenty questions in a game, some of them were quite openly upset to have managed only 19. Moderators, especially new ones, should relax -- they will read better that way.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:07 pm

Make sure your expected readers practice. For those on your squad, take turns reading packets on the clock periodically, especially in the weeks leading up to the tournament. Getting used to the pace and rid of anxiety about it will help.

For those whom you might get to read who are not on your squad (non-playing members of other teams, other students/faculty from your own campus), try to remind them to practice reading quickly in advance. If some of that pool of readers is capable of coming to your practices, invite them to practice to read so they, too, can get used to it.

I also can't agree more with the points above regarding "butchering": emphasize to your readers that enunciation is very important, but that they should NOT allow themselves to pause to think about how to say something; they should just do their best and move on quickly. Of course, handing out the packets in the readers' room a bit early so readers can pre-scan will help in this. The TD (or whomever's in charge of handing out packets) can even highlight any unusual terms or names to ensure all are comfortable with it before breaking for the rooms.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:43 pm

This is sort of on the same topic but i apologize if i'm derailing too much. I had something come up last week that i wasn't sure how to resolve. Fortunately, it wasn't a huge deal, but the only time i've really had this happen.

A certain team (let's say their name starts with "W" and ends with "hitman B") talked after pretty much every single tossup (loudly and annoyingly, as well), and since they only answered like 4 or 5 correct the whole game, they were presumably bothering the other team.

So i just kept reading bonus questions as if the team that got the question right was the one talking, but that wasn't really ever the case. I've never had a situation come up where the team that wasn't getting tossups right kept talking after them anyway.

Not once in 5 years of moderating have i ever even thought of penalizing a team somehow for continuously talking, but i just started to consider it in this one game. How should this situation be remedied?
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Cheynem » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:48 pm

I would just tell the other team to "please be quiet." This probably happens more often than you may imagine, although rare is the team that won't settle down after being told to hush up. If they persist in their rudeness, you can start inflicting penalties, I guess.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:54 pm

The "be quiet" warnings happened about three or four times. After a while i just turned to my left and started directing the bonuses, more loudly, to the other team. I really just wanted to get the game over with.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Cheynem » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:57 pm

I'm not sure what the rules say about this--I think you always have the option to eject (or threaten to eject) unruly or disruptive individuals.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Susan » Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:04 pm

Carangoides ciliarius wrote:The "be quiet" warnings happened about three or four times. After a while i just turned to my left and started directing the bonuses, more loudly, to the other team. I really just wanted to get the game over with.
Did you have a chance to talk to them after the game or to talk to (or email) their coach?
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:42 pm

Considering what else they did the rest of the day (it got way worse), the team and coach got a talking-to from a bunch of people.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Scipio » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:11 pm

One thing I do for NAQt packets is stop the clock when I do things like turn the page; that extra ten seconds off the clock won't derail the tournament timing, but the savings can allow one more tossup to be heard.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:17 pm

You should tell players to be quiet, and then tell them if they keep not being quiet that you will kick them out of the room. It's that simple.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:18 pm

Also,
Carangoides ciliarius wrote:A certain team (let's say their name starts with "W" and ends with "hitman B")
All class.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Auroni » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:44 pm

If you cannot get through 20 tossups in a timed SCT round, then either set the time back to 11 or 12 minutes halves, or finish up to 20 tossup/bonus cycles off the clock.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Coelacanth » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:36 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:Use a pen to cross out the question you just read. This will make it easier for you to determine what tossup or bonus you're on when you switch back to the sheet. If you get to the last question on a page, try to switch the page in the middle of reading the next tossup or bonus.
These are excellent suggestions.

It is definitely much faster reading from a printed packet than from a computer screen. I realize that there are legit expense-related and ecological reasons for running paperless events, but if moderator speed is a big concern you want paper.

Also, echoing what others have said, the number one timesink is right after you've finished a bonus. If you let them, the teams will yak and yak. You should basically be saying (this is an example) "that's correct. 20 points. Here's your next tossup. This man..." all in one breath.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by dtaylor4 » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:50 pm

Coelacanth wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:Use a pen to cross out the question you just read. This will make it easier for you to determine what tossup or bonus you're on when you switch back to the sheet. If you get to the last question on a page, try to switch the page in the middle of reading the next tossup or bonus.
These are excellent suggestions.

It is definitely much faster reading from a printed packet than from a computer screen. I realize that there are legit expense-related and ecological reasons for running paperless events, but if moderator speed is a big concern you want paper.
I think this is a point of personal preference. At a recent tournament, I read via laptop (while keeping score on paper), and everyone else read via paper, and most had scorekeepers. I'm normally a quick reader, but I was consistently 10-15 minutes ahead of most readers.

Tip: if reading via laptop, have the two windows side by side, to where you're only scrolling to get to more questions.

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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by bmcke » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:12 pm

Staple the tossups and bonuses separately.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:45 pm

bmcke wrote:Staple the tossups and bonuses separately.
No, rip the packets.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:56 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:
bmcke wrote:Staple the tossups and bonuses separately.
No, rip the packets.
This. Otherwise, you run a greater risk of reading rounds out of order.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by fleurdelivre » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:13 pm

ValenciaQBowl wrote:Make sure your expected readers practice. For those on your squad, take turns reading packets on the clock periodically, especially in the weeks leading up to the tournament. Getting used to the pace and rid of anxiety about it will help.
THIS. Judgment about when to pause and figure out pronunciation versus when to just butcher the word and move on; judgment about when to pause the clock because you need those few seconds to get your pages/windows in order and check the scoresheet versus when to plow ahead and sort it out later; consistency in timing and ability to interrupt team chatter with the next tossup are all developed by practice and best done with at least a bit of confidence about how to handle the situation. If it's at all possible, even non-team staff should be invited to practice just to get some of this experience in a game setting.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by lasercats » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:49 pm

fleurdelivre wrote:
ValenciaQBowl wrote:Make sure your expected readers practice. For those on your squad, take turns reading packets on the clock periodically, especially in the weeks leading up to the tournament. Getting used to the pace and rid of anxiety about it will help.
THIS. Judgment about when to pause and figure out pronunciation versus when to just butcher the word and move on; judgment about when to pause the clock because you need those few seconds to get your pages/windows in order and check the scoresheet versus when to plow ahead and sort it out later; consistency in timing and ability to interrupt team chatter with the next tossup are all developed by practice and best done with at least a bit of confidence about how to handle the situation. If it's at all possible, even non-team staff should be invited to practice just to get some of this experience in a game setting.
Refer them to the excellent and very helpful pronunciation guide, and try to build rapport with volunteers who have experience in multiple languages.
Also, if someone is a slow reader: don't be afraid to move them off of that post, or not ask them back for your next tournament.
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Re: Reading Fast(er)

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:09 pm

It's not really going to help at an NAQT tournament, but if you're in a situation where you don't have bye teams and you have a room or two with slow readers, consider having the slower readers trade off with faster readers after the faster readers finish their rounds. For instance, the faster readers could come in while the slower readers are on tossup 15 or something and help make your tournament run 5 minutes faster. As a tournament director, you may want to frame this as a general "the fast readers will take over for the rooms still reading" during registration to make sure that people are aware this is going to happen and hopefully don't take it personally.
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