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Thread: How to stop unnecessary rereading?

  1. #1
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    How to stop unnecessary rereading?

    I have this frustrating habit of constantly rereading sentences and even entire paragraphs just to make sure I understood them, even though I know I did and rereading them just bores me and slows my reading down to a crawl. I've tried the method of covering the lines I've read with a piece of paper but I find myself rereading the lines from memory (which just goes to show how redundant it is). Is anyone else afflicted with this? How do you go about stopping it?

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the site Leopard. I'm not going to be much help because I love rereading lines or whole sections of prose just because I enjoyed them. There is a new kind of reading technology, though, that doesn't use lines. Instead there is only a single word at any given moment on a tablet or computer screen. New words follow (and old words go) at exactly the same spot at a speed you can control. Reading this way is a kind of trick to pick up at first, but supposedly it doesn't take too long. You may want to look into it.

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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    What I do to focus attention on what I am reading is to stand and read if I have a physical book. I also pace about somewhat. I try to keep the back straight even when sitting in a chair and reading digital texts such as these posts. I stop reading when I feel I've had enough. I may even put the book down for months (years) before finishing it.

    Reading is not to consume something. That's what computers do. They read very fast, but they understand jack and are in no way enlightened by the exercise. The point of human reading is get enjoyment or enlightenment. If that doesn't come, then stop reading.

    When I am reading something I am unsure about, I will re-read it multiple times. I want to understand it. However, I may have to wait until later for the desired understanding. So I switch to something else. Or I search for concepts I don't understand. All of this provides a different perspective and then I might find that I understand the original text better or I might find that I do not now need to read the original text at all anymore, because I understand it by having read something else.
    Last edited by YesNo; 11-03-2016 at 11:07 AM.

  4. #4
    I just want to read. chrisvia's Avatar
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    I would investigate the trivium method, expounded most recently in Susan Wise Bauer's book, The Well-Educated Mind. Essentially, you make 3 passes at a text: grammar, logic, rhetoric. It has served me well in terms of comprehension and not getting bogged down and so on.
    "J'ai seul la clef de cette parade sauvage."
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    "Il est l'heure de s'enivrer!
    Pour n'être pas les esclaves martyrisés du Temps,
    enivrez-vous;
    enivrez-vous sans cesse!
    De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise."
    - Baudelaire

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    When I come across challenging reading material I tend to slow my reading speed down significantly, pausing slightly at complex terms in order to let it process. Sentences containing strings of complex terms require slower reading in order to fully digest and connect the ideas/concepts together properly. Slowing down helps me follow the author's train of thought at my own speed. If it is interesting material I'll then re-read it faster, but still slower than I would while snacking on a light novel, and then move on.

    The idea being to modulate reading speed based on the difficulty of the material, as not all sections of a book or chapter will be equally strenuous to read.

    Keep in mind that unless the material is teaching you something new, or opening/challenging your mind to new ways of thinking, it's probably not necessary to re-read. Be selective about it. If I'm reading a science fiction or fantasy novel It's rare that I'll re-read any parts unless it's hard sci-fi or one the more challenging older works (40's and 50's).

    The best book I have come across about improving reading comprehension is How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler.
    Last edited by Vota; 11-23-2016 at 07:57 AM.

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    Registered User Red Terror's Avatar
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    Use a regulator as per the book "Power Reading" by Rick Ostrov. A regulator is your forefinger or a pen. You pass the regulator over the sentence you are reading so that you minimize sub-vocalization and at the same time you pace your reading.
    There has never been a single, great revolution in history without civil war. --- Vladimir Lenin

    There are decades when nothing happens and then there are weeks when decades happen. --- Vladimir Lenin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Terror View Post
    Use a regulator as per the book "Power Reading" by Rick Ostrov. A regulator is your forefinger or a pen. You pass the regulator over the sentence you are reading so that you minimize sub-vocalization and at the same time you pace your reading.
    Doesn't minimizing subvocalization impair comprehension though?

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    Registered User Red Terror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leopard View Post
    Doesn't minimizing subvocalization impair comprehension though?
    Minimize is different than eliminate. So the answer to your question is no.
    There has never been a single, great revolution in history without civil war. --- Vladimir Lenin

    There are decades when nothing happens and then there are weeks when decades happen. --- Vladimir Lenin

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