Slow Reading

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Slow Reading: the antithesis of speed reading

By default, most people read as quickly as they’re comfortable with – this happens without any conscious effort. To start slow reading, you read as slowly as you’re comfortable with – it should feel comfortable, not labored. The goal is to achieve an enjoyable experience – slow reading should never be stressful.

Slow reading is part of the slow movement – which advocates for slowing down many activities in daily life. Instead of fast food, the slow movement embraces ‘slow food’ – instead of mass-produced goods, the slow movement prefers carefully crafted items which take more time to create. The slow movement gained attention in the beginning of the 21st century as a reaction to our “always-on” society.

Slow reading isn’t always appropriate, but if you feel like you don’t enjoy reading as much as you once did, you might want to pick up a book and give it a try. Lots of things in life are a race, but reading doesn’t always have to be one of them.

Slow Reading on Wikipedia

Slow reading is the intentional reduction in the speed of reading, carried out to increase comprehension or pleasure. The concept appears to have originated in the study of philosophy and literature as a technique to more fully comprehend and appreciate a complex text. More recently, there has been increased interest in slow reading as result of the slow movement and its focus on decelerating the pace of modern life.
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Interesting. I have always struggled a bit with speed reading. The things I “speed read” just don’t seem to stick in my memory as well as when I read something in a “normal” speed.

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I would add that not only speed, but also mental state is important. One could try reading at a slow tempo, only to be absorbed in racing thoughts, while staring at the stuff they’re reading… Mindfulness could be a key component, as monitoring focus levels helps in keeping in touch with the task at hand. How does one induce the state of ‘ready to read comfortably and slowly’?

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Another article:

A link from the article:

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Reading aloud is always slower for me than reading silently. Also, when I am reading something in a foreign language (Spanish is the only one I know well enough to read in), I have to mentally translate each sentence into English to make sure I understood it.

I like listening to audiobooks too (my current one is Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan, written in the 70s before his Cosmos series). Again with the reading aloud bit, someone reading to me is slower than me reading the same text silently. I would suggest these actions (reading aloud - either by yourself or listening to an audiobook, and reading in a language you aren’t fluent in) for folks who want to read more slowly.

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How is the book? The summary looks interesting.

I got into audiobooks a while ago and listen to them in the car instead of the radio. I usually put them on 1.3 to 2x speed, but it depends on the narrator. I’m listening to the current one at normal speed.

The book is excellent, because he discusses his conclusions about our brain’s evolution from studies done on other animals at the time. I’m a big fan of Sagan’s work, precisely because he didn’t tend to make predictions that future generations might prove wrong (thus proving suchs predictions ridiculous). He knew to focus on “what we know now at the time of writing” instead of saying stuff like “we’ll have such-and-such technology by the new millennium”.

His daughter Sasha is coming out with a memoir next month, called For Small Creatures Such as We.

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I just don’t understand the basic premise in speed reading at such rates. It seems a naive idea that might appeal to someone who doesn’t know how studying goes. Retention and comprehension are the bottlenecks. Actual reading time is not of much consequence. I think it’s a scam played on people with comparatively little education who hope to better themselves.

It reminds me of the Encyclopedia Brittanica scam. They would target blue collar families with little education and persuade them that having these books in the house would make a big difference to their children’s academic success. It was a cynical exploitation of the hopes of struggling families.

The real aim of speed reading is to take all the more time consuming things, such as understanding and internalizing as well as the structuring of information and raise all of these along with your reading speed. In reality you have people advertising their course of scroll your eyes across the screen and pay me 200 bucks. It’s not really that speed reading is bad, it is that people selling malfunctioning methods is bad.

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I agree. Learning to ‘read’ in the larger sense is of immense value. That means learning sustained focus, developing a nose for key points, the ability to retain important details and integrating the new knowledge into one’s present understanding. It may also require that one does further reading in order to properly understand the one text. It may even require professional knowledge of the material. But this has little to do with the actual mechanics of reading. Confusing the two is like confusing ‘typing’ with ‘writing’.

I am all for encouraging reading, improving reading skills and so on. I place very high value on reading ability but I will have no truck with false and misleading promises

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