When I read visually, I tend to read very slowly. Like really, really slow! A 30-50 page text can take most or all of my workday (depending on a few things). And my job requires me to do hundreds of pages a week. So I cannot do all of my academic reading visually. Fortunately there are other ways of reading. I’ll discuss them below.
1. Visual Reading
When I have a text in front of my eyes, I am very tempted to take my time, read very carefully, and look for ways to appreciate the sections that would otherwise strike me as unimportant. Giving in to these temptations can be foolish. To explain consider a few questions.
- Can I finish all of my reading if I take my time?
- Does this allegedly important text deserve a careful reading?
- Is this allegedly important text actually important?
For much of my academic reading, the answer to at least one of these questions is “no.” In other words, usually…
- I cannot finish all of my reading if I take my time…
- it’s not clear that a text merits a careful reading, or…
- it’s not clear that a text is important.†
Don’t get me wrong, the visual reading method is sometimes crucial for academic reading. If you really want to (try to) understand the nuances of a text (or a series of texts), then careful visual reading, with intermittent break for note-taking is probably worthwhile.
But visual reading is not well-suited for every situation. For instance, Continue reading Workflow: Academic Reading