Slow Reading: the antithesis of speed reading

Published July 1st, 2018

You’ve heard of speed reading – there’s a whole mini-industry of books and apps built around it. Increasing your reading speed has obvious benefits, but what happens when you slow it down?

You probably haven’t heard of slow reading. It’s related to the concept of a ‘close reading’ – a technique used in critical analysis where the reader pays close attention to details and sentence structure. With slow reading, the reader consciously slows their reading speed down. Slow reading can help you understand the piece better – and it can help you enjoy it more.

By default, most people read as quickly as they’re comfortable with – this happens without any conscious effort. To start slow reading, you read as slowly as you’re comfortable with – it should feel comfortable, not labored. The goal is to achieve an enjoyable experience – slow reading should never be stressful.

Slow reading is part of the slow movement – which advocates for slowing down many activities in daily life. Instead of fast food, the slow movement embraces ‘slow food’ – instead of mass-produced goods, the slow movement prefers carefully crafted items which take more time to create. The slow movement gained attention in the beginning of the 21st century as a reaction to our “always-on” society.

Slow reading isn’t always appropriate, but if you feel like you don’t enjoy reading as much as you once did, you might want to pick up a book and give it a try. Lots of things in life are a race, but reading doesn’t always have to be one of them.