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    Slate | Timothy Noah | 2/19/00 | 5 min
    31 reads9 comments
    9.4
    Slate
    31 reads
    9.4
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    • sjwoo3 weeks ago

      I've become a much worse reader in the last ten years. I have to actively tell myself not to skim/skip, because that's my default mode nowwadays. No doubt this disease has become exacerbated by the internet...

    • jbuchana1 month ago

      This reminds me of high school. It was decided that, due to the poor average reading kills of the students in our school district, everyone had to take remedial reading for two semesters. It quickly became obvious what a bad idea that was, as a large percentage of students could read at or above their grade level. So they seperate remedial reading into remedial reading and speed reading. We had to pretend we could read really fast to do well in this class. I don't remember what speed they thought I was reading at, but I've always assumed that it was bogus, I remember comprehension being poor.

      • SEnkey
        Top reader this weekScoutScribe
        3 weeks ago

        Haha, I'm sorry that happened to y'all but that sound like so much of experience in education. Knee jerk reaction followed by knee jerk reaction.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        1 month ago

        I'm sure there's some value in speed-reading (in certain professional contexts?) but at this point in my life the concept itself seems so counter-productive that its almost disturbing. The experience you describe really freaks me out! Schools should be teaching the opposite- that speed and skill have little to do with one another. Imagine telling a chef or artist that the quality of their work, their performance, depends on how fast they get everything done. Absurd.

        An advanced reader recognizes that the words themselves dictate the pace at which they can/should be absorbed.

        • jbuchana1 month ago

          Today I read for enjoyment and the longer it takes to read something (within reason) the more enjoyment I get from it.

    • bartadamley
      Scout
      4 weeks ago

      skimming isn’t reading. Unless you’re already familiar with the material skimmed, you’re going to miss a lot. (Speed-reading courses teach skimming, not reading, though most won’t admit that.)

      All this talk of reading, makes me want to read a physical book to end the night. The real challenge comes at this time of night, to not fall asleep while reading.

      What form of reading is better for this, reading digitally or reading physically?

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        4 weeks ago

        I can do Readup in Dark Mode fairly late and fairly early, but the bedroom is no tech zone, so books & pen/paper/journal tend to be the very last thing at the end of night and first thing in the morning. (If not that, I'll sit and look at fire — I have three options: wood burning stove, a candle, or the stars — until I'm tired.) If I’m reading in bed and I doze, thats it. No mas. Even if I'm not at the end of a chapter, doesn't matter. The bookmark goes and I hop on the train to dreamland. It's ready for me in the morning, and why fight sleep?

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      1 month ago

      Oh hell yeah. I love reading about reading. This was a delight. And truly inspiring. I'm proud to be a slow reader. And I'm even more proud to be a deep reader.

      Last night, I finished reading Giovanni's Room, cover to cover, within a 24 hour "sprint" but I really wasn't reading fast. In fact, I kept using all kinds of little tricks to slow myself down even more than my regular super-slow pace. It probably took about 6 or 7 hours to read 160 pages - a late(ish) night, a morning, and another night. So thats an average of 2-3 minutes per page. Plus the font is huge. I'm fairly certain that I zipped through some fun, early scenes, and I also know that I was spending 10-15 minutes on individual paragraphs of brain-exploding, larger-than-life stuff that was absolute poetry and contained a lot of information about the meaning of life.

      Reading is a never-ending journey. The more you do it, the "better" you get, with no upper limit. At a certain point, you really realize - and internalize - this notion that it's not a race (or a comprehension test) and that's where the the magic, the flow state, begins.

    • jeff
      Reading streakScoutScribe
      1 month ago

      Excellent article and at 20+ years old I guess it could be a classic. It's absurd that anyone thinks they can read thousands of words per minute but it does raise some interesting questions about what reading even is. The answer surely lies somewhere between merely glancing at a page of words and absorbing 100% of all the information contained and alluded to therein.

      I like the way Carver structured his study and 75% retention seems like a reasonable benchmark to me when you're going for speed. I also appreciated the comparison of audio books to reading and the importance of regression. Distraction also has to be a huge factor. Audio books are marketed as a way to absorb information while you're doing something else.