For as long as I can remember, I’ve read ahead. When a teacher would tell us to reach chapter’s one through four, I’d go home and finish chapter twenty. I would get absorbed into the story and unable to stop. It would get a little tricky answering questions in class as I would need to remember just what had happened in the assigned chapters. My speed reading didn’t mean that I wasn’t understanding the book, mind you. It just meant that the teacher wouldn’t accept an answer from chapter seven if we were only supposed to read up to chapter four. Sometimes, I would even read the book a second time, lapping the class entirely.
More recently, my book reading has slowed down. Perhaps I’m getting finickier with age, perhaps it is just my limited free time, or perhaps my reading has simply shifted to online articles. Whatever the reason, I don’t read as much. When I do read, though, I still tend to tear through the books. I read The Bloggess’ book – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) – in about a week and Year Zero‘s 357 pages went by in a mere two days.
While I love reading to my boys, I do find it a bit difficult from time to time. Take my most recent reading project with NHL, for example. We’re reading the entire Harry Potter series. I’ve seen all of the films, but hadn’t read any of the books. NHL had seen the first two movies, but hadn’t read the books. We made a rule that he could only see the next movies once we had read the book for that movie. So we read the first two books, a little bit every night, and slowly got to the point where he could see the third movie. We’re currently reading the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
As I’m reading to him, however, I need to slow my pace down. I can’t zip from page to page at my usual speed as I wouldn’t be able to keep up reading the words to him. (He’s usually too tired, by this point in the day, to do any reading himself. When he reads by himself, he can be just as speedy as me.) For the longest time, I resisted reading ahead, but I just gave in. I now have two bookmarks in the book. The first indicates where NHL and I are. The second shows where I’ve read to. Eventually, I’ll finish the book and move on to the next one. NHL will catch up to me, I’m sure, but it might take awhile.
Do you read books rapidly or do you go through them at a slower pace?