I’m more concerned about slow writers. See article below. But seriously, I’m a slow reader from way back. At least with prose. It can take me upwards of ten hours to read a novel. This translates to years when I’m trying to write one, apparently. Anyway, slow reading is a “movement” (whatever that means) to stop skimming. Admirable. Noble. Unlikely. Don’t worry. I’ll keep the posts short so you don’t feel guilty about skimming.
If you’re reading this article in print, chances are you’ll only get through half of what I’ve written. And if you’re reading this online, you might not even finish a fifth. At least, those are the two verdicts from a pair of recent research projects – respectively, the Poynter Institute’s Eyetrack survey, and analysis by Jakob Nielsen – which both suggest that many of us no longer have the concentration to read articles through to their conclusion.
The problem doesn’t just stop there: academics report that we are becoming less attentive book-readers, too. Bath Spa University lecturer Greg Garrard recently revealed that he has had to shorten his students’ reading list, while Keith Thomas, an Oxford historian, has written that he is bemused by junior colleagues who analyse sources with a search engine, instead of reading them in their entirety.
So are we getting stupider? Is that what this is about? Sort of.