A Read for Speed

Reading is supposed to be a leisure activity, right?  I mean, it’s something you do in your free time to get away from the overwhelming burden of reality.  I’m pretty sure I enjoy reading.  I’ve been doing it ever since I was young.  I can name series that have molded me into who I am today.  So why is it when that I’m assigned reading, I avoid it like no other?

It always starts the same.  I’m given a reading schedule and for the first three days I follow it to the page number.  If I’m feeling feisty, I may even read ahead.  The first reading check quiz comes, I feel good because I actually retained some information and then… I somehow manage to fall hopelessly behind until I’m scrambling to finish the book with a deadline looming over me.

Then I saw this on my Facebook wall:

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Needless to say, I was amazed.  So some genius identified the point of a word that your brain uses to comprehend its meaning and he highlights it so that you can read exponentially faster, no training required.  Do you understand how useful this would be?  I might actually be able to read through my textbooks without dozing off, and my reading time would probably be cut in half.

There’s just one problem.  Do flashing words and red letters take away the novel-ty of reading?  I’ve never even been all too comfortable with e-readers, let alone an app for speed reading.  Spritzing, while clearly an innovative new method, seems more suited for informative text rather than works of fiction.  I just wonder if it would make reading less enjoyable.

Which brings me back to my first question.  Why do reading assignments seem so much less enjoyable than leisure reading?  Well that’s just it.  It’s the idea of being told to read versus choosing to read.  Active learning will always be more effective than passive learning.  That’s part of the reason why Spritzing is so effective; it requires active participation.  So whether or not I choose to speed read in the future, I think I’ll take more time to appreciate what a book means to me, rather than dwelling on the fact that it’s required reading.  I’m quite fond of A Tale of Two Cities and All Quiet on the Western Front, both of which were assigned in my sophomore English class.  Oh, and if you don’t like what you’re reading?  Just power through it like there’s no tomorrow.

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