Learning How to Read


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11 minutes ago, NightSG said:

Did you need to memorize an infinite lookup table of every possible mathematical operation on every possible number in order to be able to do basic arithmetic?  Learn a sample, and work on extrapolating from that.

If we made this analogy between math and literacy, I'd have to say that I do the exact same thing with math.

I'm not saying that I'm illiterate, obviously, any more than I'm saying I'm bad at math.  I'm quite well versed in both.  But the speed at which I read is pretty slow compared to others of my education and reading level.

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25 minutes ago, zil said:

Interesting.  Try pronouncing the word backwards starting from the end and working backwards, but with just the last one letter, then the last two, etc.  Phonetics would be:

s

cs

ics

tics

etics

netics

onetics

honetics

Phonetics

(You can just do the ph in one step since you already know it's one sound.) 

I'm not sure what that would do.  I am told that one method of speed reading is to read one line forward and the next line backwards so you save time shifting your eyes back and forth.  I tried it.  I kinda got it.  But I never spent much time on it to get really efficient at it.  I never saw it saving more than a 1/20 of a second per line.  It didn't seem to be worth the hassle.

25 minutes ago, zil said:

This is how we learned and taught difficult Russian words.  I find it works fast and well.

So far I haven't had a problem with Russian.  I'm still below a 200 word vocabulary.  But it's pretty simple.  It's actually quite similar to Klingon (as one might expect):D.

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1 minute ago, Carborendum said:

I'm not sure what that would do.  I am told that one method of speed reading is to read one line forward and the next line backwards so you save time shifting your eyes back and forth.  I tried it.  I kinda got it.  But I never spent much time on it to get really efficient at it.  I never saw it saving more than a 1/20 of a second per line.  It didn't seem to be worth the hassle.

That bit wasn't about speed reading - that was about quickly learning to pronounce difficult words.

 

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I was always the fastest reader in my classes at school. At least in the ones where we were expected to read certain texts during class periods. I always read every word during these periods.

My dad once took a test that followed the focus of his eyes to see how fast they could move across a screen or page or something. He scored significantly higher than average. If this was a good test, then it seems likely that a reason for my ability to read quickly is because my eyes move quickly.

As for speed reading, I never saw the appeal. Likely because I read quickly without having to skip words.

And while I can see the utility of taking in an entire page of text in one glance, I don't think I'd enjoy it nearly as much as reading word by word, start to finish. Especially for novels. I don't suppose that's something that can be turned on and off, depending on the purpose of the reading?

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49 minutes ago, SilentOne said:

If this was a good test, then it seems likely that a reason for my ability to read quickly is because my eyes move quickly.

That's the ticket, @Carborendum - you need to exercise your eyes more.  I recommend more eyerolls. :rolleyes:  Be sure to roll in both directions.  :itwasntme:

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5 hours ago, zil said:

That's the ticket, @Carborendum - you need to exercise your eyes more.  I recommend more eyerolls. :rolleyes:  Be sure to roll in both directions.  :itwasntme:

There you go; drive erratically in front of some state troopers, after using Night Train for mouthwash.  They'll run you through a good series of exercises.

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15 hours ago, Carborendum said:

For about the fifth time.  I already do what you're saying with individual words.  I think I can skip that part.

My question about sentences and paragraphs is that there are basically an infinite number of permutations that sentences come in.  I can write one sentence.  I can write 100 sentences.  But with a combination of 30,000 words at my disposal, the number of sentences that I'd have to put together to make this methodology at all useful would be virtually infinite.  How is flashing a few hundred sentences supposed to help?

Paragraphs?  Forget about it.

Well, for about the dunnoth time I stated my son does it but not quite sure how he learned to do it.  All I know is that my boss learned it that way from Cleveland public school.  Through flashcards.  I don't think it's about looking at a sentence and memorizing that sentence.  Rather it's looking at a sentence as a combination of recognizable shapes in the same manner that you can look at any combination of familiar images in a picture and understand what the picture is all about at a glance without ever having seen that picture before.  The sentence/paragraph flashcard is not about "memorizing" the shape of that sentence, rather it's practicing to "see" that sentence as a picture instead of phonetically.

Edited by anatess2
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21 hours ago, Carborendum said:

If that's the intent, then I KNOW it won't work.  I've never been able to do that with individual words.  I don't fathom any way to do that with sentences.

I learned as Vort described.  I learned the phonetic nature of letters, then words.  Phonetics indicates some letter combinations for some sounds that are common patterns.  Key word: Common.

Based on those phonetics, I was able to sound out individual words until I was able to recognize the words on sight.  Other words, I have to sound out very slowly until I can do it fast.  If it's not a word I recognize, I go back to the phonetics and repeat until I "learn" the word.  And yes, in my several decades on this planet, I've gone through this process to amass a 30,000+ word vocabulary.  But it was all by repetition.  I've never been able to create a new pronunciation by sight reading.  

I'd then imagine that even with some efficiency for reading well, the combinations are still simply too great.  I'd be generous to say I could "recognize"  60,000 sentences in the next couple decades.  That doesn't even make a dent in the possibly 22 nonillion combinations or probably 10 nonillion permutations that said sentences would come in.

I know something that might work, and it may be what helped me to learn how to read like that.

English is a language where the placement of a word in a sentence or paragraph is important.  It's placement relays it's context.  This is not how it works in some foreign languages.  The way you know where or what a word is relies rather on it's spelling (for example, if you were doing Latin which is a basis for many of them, you have that basic idea of Amo, Amas, Amat...where Amo is the singular first person, Amas is the singular second person and Amat is the singular third person.  If you were doing it a plural third person than it would be Amant.  The same is done with Nouns except you have various other tenses tossed in).  This means in those languages you can have word placement in any order if one desires.  This is commonly done in poetry and other forms of more complex writing.

Thus, if you want to read a sentence you need to read all of it at once in order to understand what it is actually saying in some languages.  If you read it singularly like you do in English you will take longer comprehending it than if you simply look at it and see the words and their context.

It is this application to English that may help you to learn to read differently.  In many ways I suppose it is like learning a different language.  In that same light, if you already know other langauges it may be easier to learn to read in a different fashion than how one reads already.

This does not make any type of reading superior to any other type, just different.  I read one way to get through all the papers and history texts I have to read for my job, and the slower and more pleasurable method for my enjoyment.

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On 5/24/2018 at 7:38 AM, anatess2 said:

Pretty much.

Okay, my 16- the new-old is such a speed reader he finished Mistborn on one school day.  He gained speed reading skills through his video game - he's playing and tracking the conversation on the side so he has to read it fast before it scrolls off the page.  From my observation, he only reads the main words and skips articles, linking verbs, etc.  So it's like skimming on steroids - filtering out words that he can just plug with context.  So, you know how people can still understand the paragraph written without a single vowel?  Because we can pretty much add the vowel sound as we read all the consonants... it's kinda like that except we're taking out words instead of vowels.

My 14-year-old is also a speed reader.  Same thing - video games.  But he does his differently.  He looks at a word as a picture instead of letters.  I can't quite explain it.  I worked really hard getting him to be good at spelling.

16-year old and 14-year old? Your boys aren't preteens anymore! 😮 

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On 5/25/2018 at 9:24 PM, Bini said:

16-year old and 14-year old? Your boys aren't preteens anymore! 😮 

BINI!!!!!  I'm soooo happy you're back!

OMG yes.  My boys tower over me now... about to be as tall as their dad!  And I'm sure you're chasing your girls around now too!  Love your avatar!  You're super pretty.

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  • 5 months later...
On 5/24/2018 at 12:19 PM, Vort said:

I used to read very fast. I was an early reader (from about age 4), and I found reading to be fun. Fast reading just increased the fun, from my (childish) perspective. I grew up at a time when Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics was heavily advertised on TV, and would show a person running his finger down page after page of text, spending about two or three seconds per page. I thought it looked like magic, so I wanted to imitate it. However, when I tried "speed reading", it left me feeling frustrated. I missed almost everything. So I gave up on it.

A bit later in life, I found that my "normal" fast reading was not actually as beneficial as I had thought -- sort of the opposite of your problem. I think I first realized this reading scriptures, which I started doing in earnest only on my mission. Over the next decade, I learned to slow down and actually read as if I were speaking or having a conversation. My enjoyment of reading, which by that time had been on the wane for some time, increased immensely. Scriptures sprang to life, as did books, especially fiction. I re-read Tolkien's three Lord of the Rings books at one point, and marveled at how greatly I enjoyed his descriptive passages such as his details of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry (?), which as a high schooler I barely skimmed over. BO-RING! Well, not now. Reading became fun again, and though I read more slowly than before (even as a child), my retention was much greater, and my enjoyment of reading, especially of narrative, increased exponentially.

I did notice some other things, not all good. The science fiction I had loved so much as a child was, on rereading, rather thinly written. The ideas were interesting enough, but the character portrayals were often two-dimensional (or one-dimensional). I found much dialog and proclaimed (or perceived) motivation to be unrealistic, even laughable. Rereading Niven in particular was a painful enlightenment. (Surprisingly, to me at least, Asimov held up quite well. His stuff was rarely character-driven, and his characters were just about as rounded out as he needed them to be to tell his story.) In the same vein, some writings I had prized very much in my childhood and young adulthood (I think my term was "deep") didn't really bear close scrutiny. But in the end, it was a part of growing up and all for the good.

So I guess I'm suggesting that you don't worry too much about increasing your reading speed. Personally, I no longer see it as much of a virtue.

Sorry, Vort.  I missed this the first time through.  I was about to write a response that essentially said what you had discovered.

My son who reads terribly fast does miss things.  Not the words.  He does get them.  But when I asked him about the "feelings" of the words, he didn't really know what I was talking about.  The thing is that he has been largely unemotional.  It was to the point that we thought he had Asperger's.  But upon further review, we found that he was just anti-social.  He is a grump.  He's a cynic even at his young age.

I asked him to put emotion in the words he was reading.  He was unable to do it.  He didn't even think about it.  Most of his recitation was completely unemotional & monotone -- because that's the way he reads.

Now, the benefit for me would be that I often get too emotional when reading or writing.  But that is completely useless when reading technical books and manuals.  And I'm trying to expand my knowledge base again.  And in this new phase, I'm having difficulty with reading large amounts of text because I'm reading it for the emotion.  There isn't any.  So, I fall asleep.;)

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58 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

But upon further review, we found that he was just anti-social.  He is a grump.  He's a cynic even at his young age. 

Are you sure he's not just an introvert who doesn't know he's an introvert nor how to manage introversion?  Because such an introvert looks very anti-social, frequently grumpy / frustrated, and quickly cynical.  (Personal experience.)

59 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

I asked him to put emotion in the words he was reading.  He was unable to do it.  He didn't even think about it.  Most of his recitation was completely unemotional & monotone -- because that's the way he reads. 

Perhaps ask if he sees pictures / imagines the scenes when he reads.  I have a friend at work who doesn't see anything - it's just words, the facts of the story.  She hates descriptive bits, often skips over them.  She also often skips to the end to see how it ends, then goes back to find out how they got there. (Weirdo.)  To my knowledge, she's the first person I've met who doesn't / can't imagine the story in images.

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2 hours ago, zil said:

She hates descriptive bits, often skips over them.  She also often skips to the end to see how it ends, then goes back to find out how they got there. (Weirdo.)

😄

We should form a club.

I mean theyThey should form a club.

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On 5/23/2018 at 9:06 PM, Carborendum said:

I was just realizing that I am pretty much the slowest reader in my family (of those above 14 years of age).  I believe my 12 and 13 year old read about as fast as I do.  Obviously, the younger ones are slower.  I say obviously, but my 18 year old was reading faster than i do currently when he was only 8 years old.

So, I'm wondering if there is anything anyone can suggest that would actually help me read faster. People have described some speed reading methods. But they seem to be simply methods of skimming rather than actually reading.  Is that all there is?

It depends on what you're reading.  Thoroughness and comprehension are far more important than reading.  FAR more.  I can't tell you how many people I've seen breeze through a reading and can't discuss it in detail.  If you're thorough but slow, then read more.  Reading is like any other activity.  The more you do it, the better you'll become at it.  That's why we read Scriptures aloud as a family every night.  Not only does it build habits for my children, but it dramatically improves their reading.

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14 hours ago, Carborendum said:

Sorry, Vort.  I missed this the first time through.  I was about to write a response that essentially said what you had discovered.

My son who reads terribly fast does miss things.  Not the words.  He does get them.  But when I asked him about the "feelings" of the words, he didn't really know what I was talking about.  The thing is that he has been largely unemotional.  It was to the point that we thought he had Asperger's.  But upon further review, we found that he was just anti-social.  He is a grump.  He's a cynic even at his young age.

I asked him to put emotion in the words he was reading.  He was unable to do it.  He didn't even think about it.  Most of his recitation was completely unemotional & monotone -- because that's the way he reads.

Now, the benefit for me would be that I often get too emotional when reading or writing.  But that is completely useless when reading technical books and manuals.  And I'm trying to expand my knowledge base again.  And in this new phase, I'm having difficulty with reading large amounts of text because I'm reading it for the emotion.  There isn't any.  So, I fall asleep.;)

Here's something really interesting...

I caught my son practicing piano while reading a book.  You heard that right.  So, he can now read music good enough that he can accompany the choir "prima vista" - the choir director puts a piece infront of him that he hasn't seen nor heard of before and he plays it good enough to accompanying the choir.  So, after playing it the first time, he can glance at measures in advance and play.  Well, during choir practice, we go through parts over and over, so my kid has a book next to the piece on the piano and he'd be playing the piano while reading the book - and he still has enough power reserved to listen to the choir director.

So, yesterday, we practiced our Christmas Party program and he has his phone on top of the piano piece and he was engaged in a fast-flying group text conversation... even TEXTING with one hand WHILE PLAYING THE PIANO with the other!   By the way, @Vort, today, kids learn to read very fast because they read the fast-scrolling group texts with their "team" while playing video games.

I was getting a bit frustrated because I thought it was rude to be on the phone while in choir practice but I didn't wanna call him out because he was doing a good job with the accompaniment.  So, I talked to him after the practice... come to find out, he was in a deep group conversation with 2 friends who are trying to figure out a way to reach the parent of one of their friends who threatened to commit suicide.  So, he can read music, read walls of group texts, type texts in response, and be emotionally connected to all.

By the way, this is not unique to my son.  I see his friends do crazy multi-tasking things like this a lot.  Like... there's this youTube video about a cellist playing while narrating a type of Ted Talk and my kid's friends were like - what's so hard about that?

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3 hours ago, zil said:

Do you really not form images of the story, just see the words?

I assume this question was directed to Carb. To answer for myself: I watch the stage play (or movie, or maybe most accurately the events of the story as if I'm standing there watching) unfold before me. That's why, when I discovered slow reading some years back, it was transformative.

Truth is, I rarely skip to the back to find out how things ended first. But I have been known to do so. Funny thing is that I don't think it has diminished my enjoyment when I've done it, so I don't think it's necessarily a bad tactic. It does take the presentation out of the hands of the author, but that's what we call sticking it to The Man and speaking truth to power and all that jazz.

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40 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

By the way, this is not unique to my son.  I see his friends do crazy multi-tasking things like this a lot.

Kudos to your son for his caring and for his skill. Seriously, that's great.

When it comes to human "multitasking", color me unconvinced. The human brain is not a time-sliceable processor that can smoothly shift its focus between simultaneous tasks and move around the correct bits on a shared basis. That's not how we work. I realize that the term "multitasking" is being used figuratively in comparison to a computer processor—ironic, since it would make more sense to use the term literally—but it's worth noting that our brains aren't computers. The best human "multitasking" takes place when a person knows how to do something so well (knitting, guitar strumming, washing the dishes) that s/he can do it on "automatic" while utilizing conscious activity for thinking/talking about something else. Many tens of thousands have died on our highways at the "multitasking" hand of another or of him/herself.

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28 minutes ago, Vort said:

I assume this question was directed to Carb.

No.  The way you worded your reply to my story about my friend, I thought you were suggesting that like her, you read the end first, and don't see the story.  Glad you do see the story - it seems tragic not to.

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24 minutes ago, Vort said:

Kudos to your son for his caring and for his skill. Seriously, that's great.

When it comes to human "multitasking", color me unconvinced. The human brain is not a time-sliceable processor that can smoothly shift its focus between simultaneous tasks and move around the correct bits on a shared basis. That's not how we work. I realize that the term "multitasking" is being used figuratively in comparison to a computer processor—ironic, since it would make more sense to use the term literally—but it's worth noting that our brains aren't computers. The best human "multitasking" takes place when a person knows how to do something so well (knitting, guitar strumming, washing the dishes) that s/he can do it on "automatic" while utilizing conscious activity for thinking/talking about something else. Many tens of thousands have died on our highways at the "multitasking" hand of another or of him/herself.

Many tens of thousands have died on our highways at the "multitasking" hand of another or of him/herself who thinks they are proficient enough at the task to be able to put it on "autopilot" and forget about it.  People have eaten tacos on the wheel without losing the conscious thought of - I'm driving - even with the titillatingly exciting color, taste, and aroma of a taco - something that a lot of sms/mms/internet surfers tend to forget once they engage their brain at the rich diversion of the information superhighway.

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5 minutes ago, zil said:

No.  The way you worded your reply to my story about my friend, I thought you were suggesting that like her, you read the end first, and don't see the story.  Glad you do see the story - it seems tragic not to.

The skipping-to-the-back things is normally a last-ditch effort not to bag the whole book. If I'm not being entertained in some way, maybe charmed, or excited, or drawn in, or horrifyingly fascinated, but instead just bored or annoyed, then instead of just not reading the book, I might skip to the back to see if it ends well enough to spark interest in finishing it.

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23 minutes ago, Vort said:

multitasking

Quote

In one of his fascinating scientific survey books, this time dealing with the latest discoveries about the brain, Nigel Calder notes, “Two of the most self-evident characteristics of the conscious mind [are that] . . . the mind attends to one thing at a time, [and] that, at least once a day, . . . the conscious mind is switched off.”1 Both of these operations are completely miraculous and completely mysterious. I would like to talk about the first of them. You can think of only one thing at a time!

...

This puts us in the position of the fairy-tale hero who is introduced into a cave of incredible treasures and permitted to choose from the heap whatever gem he wants—but only one. What a delightful situation! I can think of anything I want to—absolutely anything!—with this provision: that when I choose to focus my attention on one object, all other objects drop into the background. I am only permitted to think of one thing at a time; that is the one rule of the game.

An equally important rule is that I must keep thinking! Except for the daily shutoff period, I cannot evade the test. ...  Let us remember that quite peculiar to the genius of Mormonism is the doctrine of a God who could preoccupy himself with countless numbers of things: “The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine” (Moses 1:37).

Plainly, we are dealing with two orders of minds. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are . . . my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

But why this crippling limitation on our thoughts if we are God’s children? It is precisely this limitation that is the essence of our mortal existence. If every choice I make expresses a preference, if the world I build up is the world I really love and want, then with every choice I am judging myself, proclaiming all the day long to God, angels, and my fellowmen where my real values lie, where my treasure is, the things to which I give supreme importance. Hence, in this life every moment provides a perfect and foolproof test of your real character, making this life a time of testing and probation.

-- Approaching Zion, chapter 3: Zeal Without Knowledge, Hugh Nibley

I read somewhere a year or two ago that science has caught back up with things and figured out that humans cannot actually multitask, and so focusing on one thing at a time, instead of trying to focus on multiple things at once, is more productive.

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8 minutes ago, zil said:

I read somewhere a year or two ago that science has caught back up with things and figured out that humans cannot actually multitask, and so focusing on one thing at a time, instead of trying to focus on multiple things at once, is more productive.

The brain is not a computer, like @Vort said but we can apply multi-tasking verbiage to the way the brain works using Focus as the shared resource.  For example, a person taking a class may exercise the ability to listen at the lecture and take notes at the same time - two tasks required to accomplish a goal, both requiring focus.  Whether it's actually akin to multi-tasking instead of multi-threading, dunno.  A person rubbing his stomach while patting his head and then talking about what he ate that morning would be another one of those examples.  Some people can do it, some people can't.  One thing I learned from the hypnotist's "how to have better sleep" is if you focus your thoughts on counting (regarded as left brain) while, at the same time, putting into focus the details of a sheep jumping over a fence - color of the wool, color of the nose, height of the fence, the movement of jumping (regarded as right brain)... doing the thing over and over and over, your entire brain starts to reduce focus due to the repetition so that you sleep with your brain "empty" which is a very restful sleep.  I actually found this very dangerous for me because I end up going into "sleep paralysis" where my brain shuts my body down but I'm still awake.

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48 minutes ago, zil said:

No.  The way you worded your reply to my story about my friend, I thought you were suggesting that like her, you read the end first, and don't see the story.  Glad you do see the story - it seems tragic not to.

Well, I'll put my 2 cents in anyway.

When I read, I mainly think of concepts, emotions, and sounds.  The visualization part of it happens.  But it is not clear.  The best way I can describe it is that it is the evanescent image of a dream.  Rarely do I see an actual face, unless it is someone I know.  And while reading, I never see a face unless I consciously decide that a certain character is THIS person that I know in real life.  Then that face is in my mind whenever I read of that character.

The images are fleeting.  Often a "word painting" in a book seems quite elaborate and detailed.  I read it all and put it together in a picture, only to find that it is only about 10% completed.  Since the author did not describe the rest, I don't see the rest.  Thus the whole image becomes this faded dreamscape in my mind.

When I'm reading technical stuff, that is never an issue.  It is all about concepts and definitions of words.  No pictures.  I get it all.  I know that the standard says X is going to be 4000 psi.  If I don't use it often, then I'll forget the number.  But I'll remember that there is a code provision for it and about where I can find it again.

Remember: There are two types of people in this world.

1. Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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