The case for slow reading - Deepstash

deepstash

Beta

Get an account to save ideas & make your own & organize them how you wish.

deepstash

Beta

The speed reading fallacy: the case for slow reading

The case for slow reading

Instead of aiming for speed, we should optimise for comprehension and retention.

  • Slow reading has a positive impact on your anxiety levels.
  • It may help you read more, as you can take the time to enjoy what you read.
  • It will improve your learning. Your brain can make useful connections between current and previous content.

250 SAVES


This is a professional note extracted from an online article.

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The speed reading fallacy: the case for slow reading

The speed reading fallacy: the case for slow reading

https://nesslabs.com/speed-reading

nesslabs.com

5

Key Ideas

Speed reading

  • Speed reading promises to help anyone read at speeds of above 1000 words per minute with full comprehension.
  • The average college-level reader read at the speed of 200-400 words per minute.
  • In 1959, Evelyn Wood launched Reading Dynamics, said to increase a reader's speed by a factor of three to ten times while improving comprehension. The business was a success and eventually spread worldwide.

How speed reading works

Speed reading uses methods such as chunking, scanning, reducing subvocalization, and using meta guiding. For example, reading the first sentence of each paragraph can indicate if it's worth reading more or to move on. Or guiding your eye by using your finger.

Some researchers looked into speed reading and found there is a trade-off between speed and accuracy.

Speed reading and information retention

Speed reading can help you skim to content, which is useful at times. However, speed reading cannot help you read faster and retain more information.

  • Our eyes are designed only to see a tiny portion of our visual field with the precision needed to recognise a letter in a 10 to 12 point font. Everything outside that small area is blurry. The idea promoted by speed reading that we can use our peripheral vision to see whole sentences is biologically impossible.
  • While we spend most of our time reading forward, our eyes often go back to reread some text. This is the way our brain links content together. Speed reading attempts to help you read faster by showing one word at a time. This has a bad impact on overall comprehension.

Three types of reading

  • Mental reading is when you sound out each word in your head. This is the slowest form of reading.
  • Auditory reading is when you listen to an audiobook. This reading is almost twice as fast as mental reading, at about 450 words per minute.
  • Visual reading is when you understand the meaning of the words without sounding them out or hearing them, with a reading speed of 700 words per minute.

The case for slow reading

Instead of aiming for speed, we should optimise for comprehension and retention.

  • Slow reading has a positive impact on your anxiety levels.
  • It may help you read more, as you can take the time to enjoy what you read.
  • It will improve your learning. Your brain can make useful connections between current and previous content.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Shortest Answer To Faster Reading
The Shortest Answer To Faster Reading

Read. The more you read the more familiar you are with linguistic structures, contexts and content, which speeds up your reading. That’s especially true when learning new words or familiar w...

The Problem With Some Speed Reading Software

Software using rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) methods claim to eliminate unnecessary eye movements, thus increasing reading speed. It presents words above the average reading speed, one at a time, at a single location on the screen.

Unfortunately, experiments show RSVP software does increase reading speed, but subjects could only sustain reading at high speeds with good comprehension for short bursts.

The Flaw With Methods That Eliminate Regressive Eye Movements

This methods are supposed to let you read it right the first time, but regressive eye movements generate enhanced understanding beyond what could be obtained on the first pass.

Due to sentences unfolding linearly, often contrary to the messages they convey, rereading becomes necessary for proper understanding.

6 more ideas

Skimmed Read

Reading is a complex process that involves the brain's visual and auditory processes, phonemic awareness, fluency and comprehension. There are billions of pages available to read online,...

Slow Is Good

The speed-reading habit is making us lose our deep attention and focus, gradually shunning denser, more complicated content. Instead of optimizing for speed, we need to optimize for comprehension, deep understanding, and retention of information.

Deep or slow reading, when the brain is attentive, absorbing, understanding and analyzing text expands our attention span and improves concentration and learning.

Better, Not Faster Reading

The brain develops stronger analytical skills and gets into critical thinking mode, forming new connections and even creates new ideas.

Deep focusing on a book is one of the best investments of your time.

Rebecca Treiman - Psychology PhD

“It is unlikely that readers will be able to double or triple their reading speeds (e.g., from around 250 to 500–7..."

Rebecca Treiman - Psychology PhD
Human Body X Speed Reading

The fovea is a small high visual acuity area in the retina. Our eyes are seriously limited in their precision outside said area.

We can take in only a word or so at each glance, and a little bit about the words on either side. 

Multiple experiments confirm that speed reading,” leads to decreased comprehension of the parts of the text that reader's eyes skip over.

Rebecca Treiman - Psychology PhD
Rebecca Treiman - Psychology PhD

“The factor that most strongly determined reading speed was word-identification ability.”

one more idea

Research Backed Methods For Faster Reading

Research points to speed reading being a form of skimming, which is appropriate for short text but not for longer ones.


For long texts, reading more

Measurements Of Speed Reading And Comprehension

Although there is an academic consensus that speed-reading decreases comprehension,

On the other hand, the same can’t be said for comprehension measurement techniques, as we can process text differently according to context.

Woody Allen
Woody Allen

"I took a course in speed-reading...and was able to read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It's about Russia."

12 more ideas

Strategies speed readers use
Strategies speed readers use
  • Skimming: quickly going through passages to find the main points.
  • Meta guiding uses a pointer, such as your index finger or a pen, to guide your eyes along the lines...
Effectiveness of Speed Reading

Regardless of which reading method you use, the evidence points towards the fact that speed comes at the sacrifice of understanding.

Depending on what you’re reading, this might not necessarily be a bad thing: If you’re trying to get through a dry piece to capture a few key points or you are going through a short piece that’s easy to understand, speed reading strategies might make sense.

Make the most of what you read
  1. Choose different reading pieces for different occasions: articles and light reads can be reserved for short periods. Books that require less focus can be listened to in audio format etc.
  2. Incorporate reading into your daily habit: put a book on your bedside table.
  3. Share your reads with others, to help you to better understand and appreciate what you read.
  4. Reflect on your reading: take notes or check out films that are based on novels (to compare interpretations).
A Case For Audiobooks

Old school printed books and e-books sales remain flat in the last five years, while Audiobook sales have shown an increase.

Such figures show that people are shifting towards audio formats o...

Decoding the Written Word

Audiobooks allow the listeners to get the meaning without the use of their eyes, which books require.

Reading as a skill is 'skipped' while listening to audiobooks, though it is ideal for people with dyslexia, those who cannot 'decode' the written word.

Reading Vs Listening

The reading act, which requires focus, and which makes us stop, think and re-read is somehow only confined to books, as a study proves that retention is higher with books than with podcasts.

The audio format also misses some key visual aspects of fonts paragraphs and headings, that are available in books.

one more idea

Read to someone

One of the biggest obstacles to reading books we enjoy is that we think we should read books even if we don’t enjoy them—specifically, the idea that if we start a book, we must fi...

The To-Go Box Method

For a weight-loss hack, it goes like this: As soon as you order a meal at a restaurant, ask immediately that half of it be put in a to-go box once it’s ready and only the other half served to you. It’s basically a stricter version of portion control.

We can apply the same technique to get ourselves to read more.

Instead of 2 hours of Netflix each night, cutting it in half would still give you the satisfaction of watching Netflix in the evenings but also free up time to read as well.

Book Summaries

Preview the book in order to vet whether or not it’s worth investing your time in.

  • Use book summaries. Find apps that give accurate and concise summaries of many of the most popular books out there and are constantly updating their library.
  • Use podcast interviews with the author. Authors often go on the podcast circuit to promote their books. 

12 more ideas

Warren Buffett
“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can..."
Warren Buffett
Learning constantly

To get better results in life you need to learn constantly. And the best way to learn is to read effectively and a lot.

Upgrading your brain

A new idea, outlook on life, mental model, is all it takes for something to click inside your brain.

Your brain will start making connections between books that seemed to be on different topics. The more you read, the more links you form and the richer your understanding becomes.

8 more ideas

Meta-Learning

It's knowing how to learn. Learning itself is a skill, and knowing how to do it well is an incredibly valuable advantage.

Merely acquiring information is not learning....

Learning has 2 phases

Learning is a two-step process:

  • Read/listen: feeding ourselves new information.
  • Process and recall what you’ve just ‘learned’: connecting new materials to what we already knew.
Remembering the right things

You should not waste your time by committing unimportant details to memory. 

Your focus should be on understanding the bigger picture, on how things relate to each other.

9 more ideas

Say it out loud

Learning and memory benefit from active involvement. When you add speaking to it, the content becomes more defined in long-term memory and more memorable.

Take notes by hand

Most of us can type very fast, but research shows writing your notes by hand will allow you to learn more.

Taking notes by hand enhances both comprehension and retention.

Chunk your study sessions

Studying over a period of time is more effective than waiting until the last minute.

Distributed practice works because each time you try to remember something, the memory becomes harder to forget.

7 more ideas