Match Frame

Thoughts from an American editor and filmmaker in New Zealand about film and video production and post-production. Plus whatever else I feel like talking about.

Location: Balmoral, Auckland, New Zealand

A work in progress.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

how we read

something not about death ... this link at Scientific American is interesting to me, in that it breaks down reading into three parts and kind of helps me explain to other people why I'm a fast reader. I remember my dad trying to time me when i was a kid, and then telling me to stop and ask what word i was on, and i couldn't. I could only give him a general area.

While the article emphasizes phonics, I don't think that's ever meant as much to me - there's lots of words I read that I can't pronounce. (I managed to eke a whole linguistics paper about this freshman year.) For me, I think contextual clues (what comes before and after) and holistic word recognition (recognizing a word from a shape) are much more of the puzzle - as I see a sentence, I see all the words, work out most of them from the shape, and as i scan the words more closely i get to the end of the sentence more quickly as the content becomes more obvious. (Meanwhile, I'm probably scanning the next sentence with my peripheral vision.)

This is probably one reason I have no problem with subtitles.

The downside of this is that it doesn't work very well for things that are dense in content - I'm literally reading faster than I can absorb - or for very idiosyncratic writing styles. I often find when I read, say, Italo Calvino, that I have to re-read sentences, get lost, will wind up re-reading the same paragraph twice and get to the end before I realize I've already read it.

I wonder if there's a class to take for slow-reading.


Post a Comment

<< Home