May 9, 2010 1:06 PM Subscribe
After tracking myself for a few weeks, I learned that I have very, very bad reading habits. Help me improve myself.
posted by anonymous to Education (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I realized this was a problem only recently while reading science textbooks, but after tracking my habit, I realized it's not just reading science stuff (biology and physiology stuff), but reading anything.
While reading, my eyes (and I) skip around to various parts of the page as though I'm looking for something that appears interesting. Sometimes, while reading a paragraph, my eyes will skip forward.
I'm pretty sure this is a bad reading habit that happened after years of reading garbage. I think it also may have to do with vision that got worse and worse through the years (negative 9 in both eyes, but I wear contact lenses).
I never thought of this as a bad habit in college and grad school, where I did really well and read lots of info by skimming and scanning and getting the main idea. But now, I've been taking science courses (excitement and novelty and liking challenges got me through the first one and second one with excellent grades, now I'm on my third one and the excitement and novelty has died a little so I'm reverting to bad reading habits).
In college, I was an econ major and inevitably, I think how I would read would be to scan until I got to an equation or math, read the paragraph around that, and then shift back up to everything that explained it. I'm pretty sure I didn't read word per word. I still did well, but this is different and most of the science stuff I have to teach myself anyway (lecture is more useful after I've read the book already).
I also noticed that when I read silly chick lit trash for pleasure, I'll reread it and find sentences and words I skipped over that are entirely new to me. I think this happens because I'm so eager to get to the end and find out what happens.
What do I do? I don't have money for a specialist, but is there a way to keep my eyes (and brain) from trying to search out more interesting stuff (it's weird but I think I emotionally "tag" certain concepts before even knowing about them -- like for no reason, I'll like a section heading about the renal tubule, but feel dislike towards renal pelvis and look away and force myself to look back -- though there was nothing I disliked really about the renal pelvis other than weird associations like ("Pelvis=Elvis, I don't like his beach movies"), or to stop trying to start reading from the middle or the bottom of the page? Is it just a matter of having patience? Is there anyway I can practice?