Saturday, 11 December 2010

How to Read

I got my Kindle today, an early Christmas present from my Dad.  He wanted to give it to me so i could set it up before my flight to Germany on Wednesday.  The first thing I have to say is how amazing it looks, I had heard the comments that the screen looks just like paper but really not believed it as how can it, it is a mini computer no? But really it does, which is down to what is called e-ink, a small explanation from the more technical father was that unlike lcd's which refresh a few times per second there is no refreshing of the e-ink until you 'turn the page'. Whatever it is I say it's jolly clever!

It is pretty simple to use I am currently about a 3rd of the way through reading Pride and Prejudice, part of my Big Read challenge, so I have downloaded it onto the Kindle (for free!) and will continue with my bedtime reading from there tonight. I have even managed to work out how to transfer one of my OU textbooks from the student website onto the Kindle, so feeling very pleased with myself indeed. The only thing I am missing is one of those expensive leather covers which will protect it and have a built in reading light.

Being so new I have had a quick check around for questions, like making sure I know how to get it into flight safe mode and as such I found myself on the Amazon Kindle forum and a topic caught my eye immediately called How do you read? No, I'm serious - I've just been told I should relearn! and I have to say it raised a discussion that I have never ever thought about, which is the way we read.  I suppose I just took for granted that everyone reads in the same way, I knew that some people were faster readers than I was but I never thought that they actually read using a completely different method.

Like the poster, I too read each word aloud in my head, but from what I can work out some people read by sight alone and their brain must process the information in a different way. Some people say there is a right way and a wrong way to learn to read and I apparently have the wrong way, which might make sense, I have a mild-ish form of dyslexia, unless I am stressed then it can get much worse. However, surely the way in which one person learns to read is very much personal and works for them, just like the hand we find it easier with which to write?

The question that quite interests me is how our interpretations of what we are reading might differ depending on the way we read.  By reading each word aloud in my head I find I have a narrator voice which is quite expressive, I am not sure if that would translate to someone that reads with just their eyes.  Do they have a more or less vivid illustration of the world they are reading about?  I wonder if thinking is exactly the same, I quite often think in words but I know other people that hardly ever internally narrate their thoughts but instead have images.

It is a subject which just 30 minutes ago I had no opinion of, but now I really want to find out more.  Do you or anyone you know read in the same or different way?


  1. Um... I have never thought about this before and have NO idea how I read!! I just tried to make myself aware of it as I read your post and all that happened was that I got really confused and stopped being able to read completely. I THINK I am just sort of scanning it, so I guess I think I must be reading in the 'by sight alone' category. And I think I think in images... or... oh gawd, my brain hurts... ;)

  2. Kind of like the "What was there before the Universe began?" brain hurty question... =P