The Art of Book Reading

The Art of Book Reading

The Art of Book Reading

The Art of Book Reading

Excerpt

The art of book reading is addressed to men and women who can read, who, in fact, read very well, but who are interested in reading a greater variety of books with better comprehension and fuller appreciation--in a word, reading books with intelligent delight. It is safe to assume that there is room for improvement in everybody's reading, for actual performance almost always lags behind potentiality wherever mental effort is involved.

The procedures in reading outlined here were tested for a number of terms when I was director of the Reading Institute of New York University (1936-1950) and taught adult classes in the evening sessions. The registrants in the reading classes were college graduates, representative of a great variety of business and professional interests in the metropolitan area. All the students acknowledged a handicap in reading that interfered with their economic success, professional prestige, or personal growth. Their needs were varied; some wanted to read material of technical interest more efficiently; others wanted to read literature of a general nature unrelated to their strictly professional needs, in the interest of personal cultural growth; all were deeply concerned with extending the range and improving the quality of their vocabulary. Most of the students attached too much value to speed or rates of reading and needed indoctrination as to the place of speed in a program to improve reading skills. True to form, most of the students wanted a recipe to improve their memory. The instruction included lectures, discussions, home assignments for individual study. But whatever the student's background, profession, or age, whether the student was an admiral, a general, a college student, a dentist, a surgeon, an actor, an editor, a publisher, a teacher, a priest, a radio commentator, a business executive, a scientist, a manufacturer, a research specialist, a novelist, a poet, a nun, a housewife, a secretary-- all unanimously agreed that competence in reading was basic to . . .

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