Reading Slowly

Hurray – I was starting to worry about the slow pace of my reading. When someone asks me to review a book I have to confess this deficit of mine (embarrassing when the person may have read my book in a matter of days). My Kindle often tells me the number of minutes to the end of the chapter I’m reading and it always takes me longer (sometimes twice as long) as their estimate; I used to say “I savor the words” but feared this was just an excuse for a slow brain.

Then I found this article by Jeanne Whalen in The Wall Street Journal (http://www.wsj.com/articles/read-slowly-to-benefit-your-brain-and-cut-stress-1410823086)  that tells me to relax:

Read Slowly to Benefit Your Brain and Cut Stress, emphasizes the importance of deliberate slow reading. Whalen writes about a “return to a continuous, linear pattern, in a quiet environment free of distractions” –reading free of clickable links and videos, from one side of a page to another. It’s good for our brains, our absorption of information, and even our relationships with others.  “A study published last year in Science showed that reading literary fiction helps people understand others… (furthermore) regular engagement in mentally challenging activities, including reading, slowed rates of memory loss in participants’ later years.”

Jean reader ps 1011

Reading slowly increases comprehension or pleasure and helps decelerates the pace of modern life. There is a Slow Reading Club in Wellington, New Zealand.

What do you think?  Are you a speed reader or a slooow reader?  Will we be too inefficient if we slow down in a fast world?

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10 thoughts on “Reading Slowly

  1. I recently learned to pick up the pace because my mind drifts off into space when I read slow. I do absorb the info but later forget it should I try to recall it. Sometimes it is as I never read a thing! Going a bit quick, however, has helped my retention abilities and desire to read more since I will be able to finish in record time.

    Only technical content like news articles, textbooks, literature and encyclopaedias are read slowly but any other light reading is done swiftly and beautifully.

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  2. I LOVE the idea of a slow reading club, and admit I’d probably be suited as a president of any local chapter that should start up. After reading your post, I feel a heck of a lot better about myself and my snail-paced skills.
    Happy New Year!

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  3. I believe some people have the ability to speed read naturally or you can train yourself or be trained. Personally I believe that anything rushed gives you indigestion be it reading, writing, eating, painting etc etc. Whenever I try to read quickly I invariably, either don’t digest the content, misinterpret it or have to read it again. If it isn’t important then what is the point of reading it. For me reading should be a relaxing affair and not a rushed job. Being a writer of sorts myself I appreciate the effort that goes into producing literature and therefore I feel obliged to be respectful to the writer and give them my undivided attention. So, yes I am one of those moderately slow readers but am happy that way.

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  4. The only time I read slowly is when I’m editing…and I find I do enjoy it. BUT I am a plot-driven recreational reader and always in a hurry to see what happens next.

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    • Jude – Having worked with you , I know you are a fast reader (and you found out how slow I am!) I occasionally skim a book to see what will happen next, but usually this will be writing I don’t feel is worth spending time on.

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  5. I am a fast reader which isn’t always a good thing but I had a job that required me to do a lot of reading within a tight time schedule and I’m having a hard time breaking that habit!

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