My whole life, I’ve been a really slow reader. My sister, my best friend, and it seemed everyone around me, zipped through books, while I read so slowly that I usually got tired halfway and stopped reading. I was good at reading and I loved reading–but my sister was the one who earned the title of “loving books better than anything” because she read a great quantity of books. I wasn’t told I was a bad reader but that I read in a different style, but I still had my moments when I wondered.
I’m still slow. And I’ve come to realize that there are indeed different kinds of readers, and they both have their good and bad points.
The obvious plus for being a fast reader is that they can read more. How I wish I could fly through a fat book in a week! There are so many wonderful books in the world; they can’t possibly be read all of them in a lifetime–the obvious answer to this dilemma (As my sis must have discovered young.) is to be really fast. Our culture is set up for people who read fast. I have realized this fully as I began approaching the world of college and the ACT. It’s harder when it takes up half of your time just reading the questions. Reading fast is not done over a long length of time and so fast readers have an easier time seeing the overall themes and big pictures. Fast readers are not as picky about what they read because they know they won’t be stuck with it for months. Some slow readers risk not reading at all because it takes them so long.
Slow readers, on the other hand, are completely immersed into what they read. When they pick a book they always become emotionally attached to characters and think of them as friends (or enemies). Because they soak in the book so much, they often remember the books better than the people who fly. This enables them to wait a long time between picking up the book again because they remember where they left off, while fast readers might have to start the book over if they were unable to finish in a short time. I didn’t realize for a long time that not everyone sees every word in a sentence when they’re reading; they skim. The plus to seeing every word is that you learn to see good and bad grammar and learn from simply reading. It can also help develop vocabulary. There is a plus to being picky about what you read. Slow readers are very careful when they pick a book to read. It must have content they’re going to enjoy. After all, if they’re going to wrap themselves up in a blanket of reading, they don’t want it to be scratchy and underdeveloped.
Throughout observing the different kinds of reading, I have found both styles to be beautiful in their own ways. How do you read?