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Reading without Understanding: A Disturbing Trend

Reading without Understanding: A Disturbing Trend
Reading without Understanding: A Disturbing Trend

Do you remember the last time you read a book without getting distracted, without getting tired, or when nobody and nothing bothered you? It all has a name and a reason. Reading without Understanding.

Books are a great source of knowledge and pleasure. However, in the 21st century, reading without understanding is becoming more and more common.

Perhaps our goals for the new year include some of the most popular and promoted. But although several weeks have passed since the beginning of the new year, it’s still a good time to ask yourself what really defines us. What do we want to delve into or what we want to discover.

And all this can undoubtedly be found in books. And reading seems to be an ideal goal, not only for the New Year. There is no better way to see not only the outside world in a new light, but also our inner world. But reading without understanding it can prevent us from doing so.

Because do we really always understand what we read? Do we really absorb whatever the book can bring us? Books are a great source of knowledge, but also pleasure, because what attracts us most often is pure entertainment.

However, we often overlook some of their most enriching benefits, such as the endless and precious resource of instruction and wisdom. In the 21st century, however, reading without understanding is becoming more and more common.

Speed ​​reading, speed reading without understanding anything

As every year, Santa Claus visited us on the night of December 24 with a sack full of gifts. And among them you can clearly see a trend that has been repeated in recent years: iPads, tablets, smartphones, video games … A whole range of gifts in the form of electronic toys that push the classic book into the background.

The habit of reading electronic devices is considered perfectly normal today, but is it really helping us? In fact, it is disturbing in terms of the amount of time young people spend reading. And even more disturbing is the quality of understanding of the text they are reading.

Ziming Liu, Ph.D. from San José State University, California, has done some interesting research on this topic. He analyzed a practice known in the Anglo-Saxon world as skimming, which can be translated as “scanning” or “viewing”.

One of his studies, conducted in 2005, is called Reading Behavior in the Digital Environment: Changes in Reading Behavior over the Past Ten Years. Reading behavior in the digital environment: changes in reading habits in the last ten years.

We concluded that reading behavior based on a digital screen has changed a lot in our time. They are characterized by spending more time exploring and scanning. Readers detect keywords, read single words, and don’t read linearly.

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Consequently, the entire reading process is more selective, while less time is spent on deep reading with full concentration.

In addition, they also observed a significant decline in the ability to pay attention to the text.

Diagonal reading, the most common trend among young people

The so-called diagonal reading is a deliberately applied method. It involves reading the first line of a paragraph and then, without concentrating on any particular word, running diagonally from the left side to the right corner.

So something like this resembles “leafing” a paper book. The mind only stops at the words that stand out the most.

And this is the most common trend among young people. A quick and distilled way of reading, but which allows you to assimilate some concepts that they saw on the cover of the book. For what purpose? To assimilate them as their own, as if they really understood the full context from which they were extracted.

In addition, it should run through the basic, specific phases conducive to the assimilation of actual knowledge. And if we ignore any of them, the result will be incomplete and in many cases even wrong.

But then, since we know that we sometimes read without understanding and may be wrong in our conclusions, why do we do this? Where does such reading come from without understanding?

The “age of anxiety” prevents us from sitting calmly and reading a book

The culture of immediacy into which we have plunged in recent years is a concept closely related to technology. We want everything fast and now. The problem is that this style cannot be applied to reading. It is an activity that requires concentration, calmness and patience in order to understand certain concepts or phrases in the text.

Only then can we gradually and sequentially achieve the desired results.

Researchers conclude that reading performance drops significantly in both boys and girls.

The report points to anxiety, particularly about technology, as a damaging factor for reading comprehension and academic performance.

Reading is a process by which we not only take up the challenge of understanding words or punctuation marks in text. We also undertake the mission of understanding what we read in a broad and perspective way.

We take into account the historical context or time in which the book was written, as well as the literal or figurative use of language. And finally, a message to reach us. However, all these key elements are displaced by speed reading without understanding…