NH professor pushes for return to slow reading
By Holly Ramer - Assocaited Press
CONCORD, N.H. — Slow readers of the world, uuuuuuuu...niiiiite!
At a time when people spend much of their time skimming websites, text messages and e-mails, an English professor at the University of New Hampshire is making the case for slowing down as a way to gain more meaning and pleasure out of the written word.
Thomas Newkirk isn't the first or most prominent proponent of the so-called "slow reading" movement, but he argues it's becoming all the more important in a culture and educational system that often treats reading as fast food to be gobbled up as quickly as possible.
"You see schools where reading is turned into a race, you see kids on the stopwatch to see how many words they can read in a minute," he said. "That tells students a story about what reading is. It tells students to be fast is to be good."
Newkirk is encouraging schools from elementary through college to return to old strategies such as reading aloud and memorization as a way to help students truly "taste" the words. He uses those techniques in his own classroom, where students have told him that they've become so accustomed from flitting from page to page online that they have trouble concentrating while reading printed books.
"One student told me even when he was reading a regular book, he'd come to a word and it would almost act like a hyper link. It would just send his mind off to some other thing," Newkirk said. "I think they recognize they're missing out on something."
The idea is not to read everything as slowly as possible, however. As with the slow food movement, the goal is a closer connection between readers and their information, said John Miedema, whose 2009 book "Slow Reading" explores the movement.
"It's not just about students reading as slowly as possible," he said. "To me, slow reading is about bringing more of the person to bear on the book."
Full piece at AP.
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