Monday, December 21, 2009

Booking It--Speed

What do you think of speed-reading? Is it a good way to get through a lot of books, or does the speed-reader miss depth and nuance? Do you speed-read? Is some material better suited to speed-reading than others?

This question made me laugh. Why? Because I remember taking the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Class when I was in high school. Basically, what I remember of the procedure is this: you kind of cup your hand, palm down, placing your middle three fingers in the middle of the page as a guide for your eyes. Then, you move your hand down the page, focusing your eyes right above your fingers on the center of the text and trusting your peripheral vision to pick up the outer parts of the line. You then "absorb" the text without having to read every word.

It was a big waste of time as far as I was concerned. I already, instinctively, I guess, knew how to do this when searching a textbook looking for answers to plug in a homework sheet, or when I was skimming for specific information in a text. For those purposes, "speed reading" is a valuable skill. But to read for pleasure or to study literature, it's next to useless. You don't really get a sense of nuances in the plot, you don't enjoy diction or imagery, you miss valuable information, and there is absolutely no pleasure involved in the process.

1 comment:

Wilbur said...

I agree, "speed reading" is a valuable skill. Thank you for sharing the information. Speed reading courses can advance reading comprehension to a new level.