When deciding what reading topic to write about, Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Feeling Groovy” burst into my mind. I love when the universe provides me with insights! Do you remember the song? Here’s the first stanza:
Slow down, you move too fast
You gotta make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy!
So why would the universe remind me of this song when most of what I do is teach people how to read faster?! I realized it’s because I also advocate reading slowly, at times. You see I believe you have 5 reading gears built into your proverbial mental stick shift. Gears 1 and 2 are the slower gears and gears 3, 4 and 5 are the faster ones. Once you learn how to read in the higher gears, you then have reading speed choices you never had before.
Over the years, I’ve figured out many effective ways to teach people how to get into those higher gears BUT I have to say that intentionally slowing down to gears 1 and 2 is sometimes warranted!
Reading slower on purpose is justified and necessary when:
1 – Reading poetry or the Bible – Both are meant to be savored, contemplated and are most appreciated when read slowly.
2 – Reading dialogue and plays – When you’re reading text of someone talking, you naturally slow down to “mentally hear” the tone of voice, inflection and content. You can then speed up over the descriptive text.
3 – Memorizing academic material – When committing material to memory, again we naturally slow down to hammer it into the conscience.
4 – Vocabulary is unfamiliar – I know many words but I’m no lawyer so when I read a legal document, I have to slow down. If you want to boost your reading speed, learn more words!
5 – You honestly don’t care how fast (or slow) you read! You want to savor it and enjoy it, sometimes take notes from it, have no test to take after it and it’s for your eyes only.
Everything else can be read faster. So I challenge you to be mindful of your reading speed and intentionally slow down sometimes. It’s good to smell those proverbial roses.