In the past I have practiced speed reading and greatly benefited from it. Besides increasing my reading speed about 3 times my beginning rate it has also taught me is to be a disciplined, focused reader with goals for how I read. But recently I have come across another style of reading and one that is just as important of a skill as speed reading : SLOW READING.
The below two resources, an MP3 from regent summer program and an article from…., describe what I mean by “slow reading”. What I mean by slow reading is: meditative, reflective, thoughtful, critical reading. In the 21st century their are copious amount of written material in the form of blogs, published books, articles, tweets, etc., that can end up being superfluous and overwhelming. Speed reading is certainly helpful when dealing with so much information; but “slow reading” is also important. This looks like setting aside time to not just devour a book, but to slowly read and take stops to contemplate, write questions in the margins, respond in prayer, formulate a discussion question and talk about it… etc. Don’t just read alot, read well! Read in a way that shapes you, that gets deep into your inner man and allows the words to become powerful.
Slow-reading is reminiscent of the ancient practice of “lectio divina” and fits well in the stream of the biblical tradition that places a high value on the spoken and written word. God created through speaking, gave man the role of “naming” animals, sin and pride divided languages at Babel, when Israel needed to be warned and restored God said prophets to speak the prophetic word, Christ is the incarnate word of God, the gospel as a verbal proclamation has the power to raise people from death to life, early church ministry was built on “word-based ministry” of preaching, teaching, prophesying, evangelizing (Eph.4), throughout all church history the people of God have read the book of God and still today discuss the depths and riches of meaning in the text that have not been completely mined for thousands of years. SO… the christian tradition is a tradition that values spoken and written word, we as christians should be good readers… both fast and slow!
Here is a good talk on “slow reading”, it describes its importance as well as gives a small insightful history of reading: https://soundcloud.com/regencollege/deep-reading
Here is an article on Slow Reading: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/jul/15/slow-reading