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How Does Your Motivation Affect Your Reading Speed?

Apr 19, 2008
There are scores of possible interests, hundreds of habits, and an all but infinite variety of momentary conditions. Nothing short of minute self-analysis will reveal to you the source of your own short-comings as a reader.

Look first at the interests that may be at work in moving you to select the particular chapter and book for reading now.

Your primary interests in reading that chapter of that book at this moment may be nothing more than self-protection. Maybe your general sales manager may have called a conference for this afternoon and may have announced that everybody who attends it ought to check through the market statistics given in that particular passage.

To save your face, you are going to glance at the pages; for it will be humiliating to be called upon to express an opinion on them and to admit lack of knowledge. Reading therefore is merely a means to the end of standing in well with your sales manager.

Or you may read in order to refute the author, who has attacked some of your pet methods of managing men. Or you may read solely to check up on a calculation you made yesterday which involved some of the reported statistics.

Or you may read to find confirmation of one of your pet theories. Or you may read because, not knowing the statistics, you need them in your business and decide to master them.

Now, Your Interest in Reading Ought to Determine the Way You Read. It is wasteful, therefore foolish, to pursue one and only one reading method for all kinds of matter and all interests. Your school teachers never taught you this. They merely taught you to read and usually the interest they forced upon you was that of reading in order to pass a school examination on what you read. This forced you to cram on all the petty details of the text.

Is it any wonder that so many young people developed a dislike of literature? Or that they failed to become expert readers? America, I grieve to say, is full of pedants who drill the young to read the wonderful pages of Thackeray, Kipling, and Balzac as if these were population statistics compiled by the Census Bureau, and as if the young were reading them in the capacity of proofreaders and statisticians. They must be able to name all the characters, all the big scenes, the themes, plots, and what not. Otherwise they fail in the so-called Literature Course and are set down as poor students!

If you read novels slowly and have a vague feeling of hard work, it is more than likely that you are now paying the penalty of having been taught to read the classics by some educated imbecile who never understood that the one proper interest in reading Thackery, Kipling, and Balzac is intellectual and emotional entertainment. The manner of reading them must fit this interest; in short, you must read in an entertaining manner. And the author must first write in an entertaining manner.

Different usages, different styles of reading.

Next time you read to study or learn, pay close attention to your interest in the subject. Ask yourself: "Why am i reading this?"
About the Author
Author is publisher of the site "Speedreadingtip.com", a site with information and tools for speed reading and personal development. Visit Speedreadingtip.com and subscribe to free regular speed reading and personal development newsletter. You also get 5 free articles on speed reading!
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