If you keep up with all things technological, you’ve come across the term “deep reading.” As you might expect, it’s the opposite of “speed reading.” When deep reading you don’t skim the book, you mull over every word, phrase, and sentence.
Those who study such things tell us deep reading is going the way of the Stegosaurus. The default of online reading is in a pattern similar to the letter F. You read the first line all the way through and about half of the second line and, depending on the piece, you’re done. Reading has become one more thing learned in the first grade I’m not doing right.
I enjoy reading and have never thought my reading skills unusual. If anything, I’ve often thought they were subpar. I wish I read more and retained more of what I read.
C. S. Lewis read a lot. Far more than I do. He also remembered a lot more of what he read. His recall is legendary. But a letter to his friend Arthur Greeves penned in June 1949 closes with this sentence:
“I’ve just finished re-reading War & Peace. The great beauty of long books is that however often you read them there are still large tracts you have forgotten.”1
This from a deep reader!
“They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.” – Nehemiah 8:8.
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, Vol. II (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), 957. Italics in original.