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Higher Order Bits: Re-Teaching Myself to Read.


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I went to the internet.  The term for reading aloud to yourself is “subvocalization” and it is how many people are taught to read and how many adults still read. But it isn’t necessary. It is a hard habit to undo. There were no sure-fire method of doing it, but I was filled with excitement of the possibility of there being another way.

I read the entire internet on the topic of “speed reading.” There wasn’t too much that was definitive.  A lot of big promises, an equal number of doubters. Not a lot of evidence.  I wanted to believe, so I took three online speed readingclasses.”

This is the opposite of speed reading:

A few months later, I was waiting around at home, a little bit bored. I picked up a fantasy novel off the shelf. I decided to try reading it fast, by basically just glancing at the page and trying to “grok” it. This was one of the reading techniques I had read about. I “read” the first chapter. It was short - only 4 pages. At the end of 4 pages, I admitted to myself that I really didn’t get a damn thing out of it. So I read it again. I understood a little bit more. But I still didn’t get it. So I read it again.

I read the first 4 pages at least 8 times, but the end of the 8th time, I felt like I grokked it. I didn’t just feel like I’d read it, I really felt like there was nothing else to get from those four pages. Then I went on to chapter 2.

When I started Chapter 2, it felt different. It wasn’t any faster, I wasn’t speed reading. The difference was that it was fun. More fun than reading had ever been.

I kept reading. If I ever didn’t totally grok what I was reading, I’d start cyclically reading paragraphs or pages until there was nothing more to get.

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