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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Slow Reading

How to comprehend and appreciate a complex text

Slow reading is the intentional reduction in the speed of reading, carried out to increase comprehension or pleasure. The concept appears to have originated in the study of philosophy and literature as a technique to more fully comprehend and appreciate a complex text. More recently, there has been increased interest in slow reading as result of the slow movement and its focus on decelerating the pace of modern life.

The use of slow reading in literary criticism is sometimes referred to as close reading. Of less common usage is the term, "deep reading" (Birkerts, 1994). Slow reading is contrasted with speed reading which involves techniques to increase the rate of reading without adversely affecting comprehension, and contrasted with skimming which employs visual page cues to increase reading speed.

The earliest reference to slow reading appears to be in Nietzsche's (1887) preface to Daybreak: "It is not for nothing that one has been a philologist, perhaps one is a philologist still, that is to say, a teacher of slow reading."


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