You might think there's only one kind of reading but, in fact, there are a couple. The first one is skimming, something I do quite a bit. Skimming, like the name implies, is when you quickly look over something to glean the important parts. Skimming is good enough to get the general gist of whatever it is your reading. The problem with skimming is reader retention. Generally, skimming is good for short-term comprehension and memory of the subject.
The next one, and the one we'll look at more closely is a term that was new to me; deep reading. Sven Birkerts coined the term in his 1994 book, The Gutenberg Elegies. In it, he says, 'Reading, because we control it, is adaptable to our needs and rhythms. We are free to indulge our subjective associative impulse; the term I coined for this is deep reading: the slow and meditative possession of a book. We don't just read the words, we dream our lives in their vicinity.'
Many humans say they devour a good book. In fact, that is pretty much what happens when humans deep read. They become immersed in the subject. Deep reading utilizes a wide array of "sophisticated processes that propel comprehension" that include deductive and inferential reasoning, analogical skills, critical analysis, reflection, and insight. Expert human readers need only milliseconds to execute these processes. Young and inexperienced brains need years to develop them. "Both of these pivotal dimensions of time are potentially endangered by the digital culture's pervasive emphases on immediacy, information loading, and a media-driven cognitive set that embraces speed and can discourage deliberation in both our reading and our thinking," say Maryanne Wolf and Mirit Barzillai, authors of The Importance of Deep Reading.
Humans, and frogs too are required to develop their skill of attention to detail; to be fully and thoughtfully aware, if they want to deep read. Deep reading is not a form of escape, like playing video games or watching TV. Instead, deep reading allows us to immerse ourselves in the writer's work. We discover how we are all connected to the world and to our own ever-evolving stories. "Reading deeply, we find our own plots and stories unfolding through the language and voice of others."
Do you mark up books when you read them? I do quite often. I discovered from the article that I was reading that writing in the book can be a good a thing, just so long as it's yours. In fact, writing in the book doesn't just mean that you're awake, it means you're consciously aware of what you're reading. it also shows active thinking which expresses itself in words, either spoken or written. Additionally, writing in the book helps you remember the thoughts you had at the time you read it, as well as what the thoughts the author expressed. So go ahead, write in your book. It shows you're paying attention!
Deep reading involves time and effort, something many readers (and most students) would rather avoid. Deep reading is by no means a passive activity. It is, however, an activity that is both beneficial for the better functioning of the brain, it can give us more enjoyment out of what we read.
I found this article enlightening and I hope you found it useful, too. Skimming is perfectly good for many of the things humans read, but it isn't appropriate for everything. Before starting that article or turning the pages in that book, think about what you're reading and what you want to get out it. If deep reading is your goal, take your time and don't rush. Oh, and don't forget to get your highlighter and pencil ready. You may want to make a few notes!
I invite you back here tomorrow for an interesting and kind of weird blog. I think you'll enjoy it. Until then, I wish you