Thursday, February 26, 2015

How to Read Hard Texts

My Dear Readers,

I have not been very faithful to you this week. I have been running around trying to get everything done and get enough sleep. You know the drill.

I have recently been complaining of not having enough time to read. There are so many books that we talk about in my various classes which would be so interesting and helpful, but I feel like I never have time to read them! It hit me the other day that while I do not have time to read I apparently have plenty of time to watch Friends on Netflix. How embarrassing is that!

In order to begin to address this and try to retrain myself to read for pleasure I have forbidden myself to watch any television or film until Spring Break in a week. So far, so good. I even did some reading of The Rebel at lunch! It is still slow going, but at least I am trying instead of clicking the "Keep Watching?" button.

My favourite professor has a wonderful method of reading difficult texts. He had us read extremely difficult writings by Aristotle, St. Augustine, Plate, Rousseau, Horace Mann etc. using this method!

Here's how:

1. Read the text over once without stopping to decipher difficult phrases. Just read the words as fluidly as possible. Don't worry about understanding. Note-taking is forbidden. 

2. Go make a sandwich or something and come back in about half an hour. 

3. Read it again. This time read carefully and feel free to take notes. If you need to re-read something that is also allowed. 

By the time you have read it twice, once quickly and once carefully the text will make so much sense.  The problem, of course, is that it takes so much time. But that's your call.

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