In today's fast paced world, we are told to move fast, read fast, do fast. We are supposed to be like superman — fast.
However, reading fast is not necessarily a good thing. It does not benefit your brain and increases stress. According to the Wall Street Journal, a growing movement of 'slow readers' is taking place around the world. Slow reading advocates want to return to the focused reading habits, before Google, smartphones and social media started fracturing our time and attention spans.
There are many benefits to reading slowly and not rush through the text.
1. Slow-Reading Un-fractures Time
Do you feel tense? Rushed? Do you feel that your time is fractured? Time is just flying by and you cannot savor it. Moments are hard to capture. What to do in a fast paced world? Slow down and read a book—slowly, like on a lazy summer day. This will reduce your stress levels, improve your ability to think deeply, and allow you to savor your time and thus increase enjoyment. Get back your time, the most valuable resource you have.
2. Slow-reading uncovers “hidden” gems
A slow reader has an advantage over an abstract reader, because the former is more detailed—something you can't really teach. A detailed reader will get more out of a book. Reading slowly makes you stop and think. It makes you a thinker.
It helps you understand the main idea much better, because the details enhances the main idea. Superman is too fast and will miss the subtle nuances that gives richness to ideas. Being a fast reader and skimming does not really help you grasp the passage. Being a faster reader does not necessarily make you a better reader. Reading is not a race. Taking your time, soaking up the language and thinking about key elements can vastly improve the quality of the experience and your reading comprehension.
3. Slow-reading adds to your knowledge
Slow-reading gives you a chance to connect a new fact or idea to things you already know. This enriches your knowledge, your memory and the quality of the associations in your mind.
4. slow-reading Improves your writing
Reading more slowly not only improves comprehension, but also helps you improve your writing. In his article, “Heavy Sentences,” Joseph Epstein has this to say:
Learning to write sound, interesting, sometimes elegant prose is the work of a lifetime. The only way I know to do it is to read a vast deal of the best writing available, prose and poetry, with keen attention, and find a way to make use of this reading in one’s own writing. The first step is to become a slow reader. No good writer is a fast reader, at least not of work with the standing of literature. Writers perforce read differently from everyone else. Most people ask three questions of what they read:
(1) What is being said?
(2) Does it interest me?
(3) Is it well constructed?
Writers also ask these questions, but two others along with them:
(4) How did the author achieve the effects he has? And
(5) What can I steal, properly camouflaged of course, from the best of what I am reading for my own writing?
5. Slow-reading improves your test scores
By not rushing through the passage, you increase your reading comprehension. A lot of test prep is about reading comprehension, even for math and science. See our blog posts here and here for more details.
Tips for reading slowly:
- Go to a place with no distractions
-Map out the context, just like on a map
-Understanding the purpose of each sentence
-Take occasional notes
-Focus on key points, key words.
-Dedicate 30-45 minutes to just reading