ABSTRACT

Throughout most of the rest of this book, we have been discussing reading as the careful processing of written material. As we said in Chapter 1, we have approached reading in terms of someone carefully reading a textbook, a newspaper article, or a novel in which you must read carefully in order to pay attention to the plot. However, it is clearly the case that we can read in different ways under certain conditions. For example, when you read a novel which is not particularly intellectually stimulating, but which has a certain amount of entertainment value (or "escapism") associated with it, you may be aware of reading much faster than usual. If you think carefully about it, your introspections may suggest that you are skipping over large sections of the text. You probably do this because many parts of such novels are either totally predictable or very redundant. We would classify your reading behavior in such a situation as a mixture of reading (where you are carefully processing the text) and skimming. By skimming, we mean the type of reading activity in which you skim over the text without really deeply comprehending it. In this chapter, we shall review alternatives to the type of careful reading that we have been discussing in the rest of this book. In particular, we will begin the chapter by discussing speedreading, followed by a discussion of research on proofreading. Along the way, we will discuss the concept of skimming on a number of occasions. We will conclude the chapter by discussing individual differences in reading.