Friday, May 24, 2013

why the f*ck friday (19)

Welcome to WTFF. In which I attempt to answer a single question--normally a thought on a book or a bookish subject--that I've been pondering for the past week. It's more of an airing of grievances. A place to complain. This week it's "why the f*ck are you following along with your finger?"

I blame elementary school for this one. I actually follow along with my index finger while I read sometimes. It helps me keep my place on the page and stops my googly eyes from jutting around the page.

It's actually why I prefer to read on the Kindle. I can enlarge the font, give the book more spaces, and jab my finger down on the screen. Granted, I don't do this with every book I read. Only the long-winded ones with small fonts, like fantasy or, well, fantasy. (I think this is why I have an issue with the genre).

It actually turns out--because no one is alone on the internet and everyone is actually a dog--that I am not alone. And it really turns out that everyone should be doing this.

This blogpost is about children using their fingers to keep track. This blogpost is about speed reading, and guess what's helpful in both instances? Using a tracker to keep your place.
Regression, back-skipping, and the duration of fixations can be minimized by using a tracker and pacer. To illustrate the importance of a tracker-did you use a pen or finger when counting the number of words or lines in above baseline calculations? If you did, it was for the purpose of tracking-using a visual aid to guide fixation efficiency and accuracy. Nowhere is this more relevant than in conditioning reading speed by eliminating such inefficiencies.

Basically: it stops me from back-skipping, it helps me keeps my place, and helps me be a more efficient reader. It can make everyone a more efficient reader, because it turns out everyone has to go back and re-read things their eyes have skipped.
The untrained subject engages in regression (conscious rereading) and back-skipping (subconscious rereading via misplacement of fixation) for up to 30% of total reading time.
Or maybe I just have ADHD and this is my way of keeping it under control.

Does anyone else keep track with their fingers? A bookmark? A single sheet of paper (I'm guilty of this when I get towards the end of a book I've really enjoyed)? Remember: no one is alone on the internet, and nobody knows you're really a dog.

15 comments:

  1. I am guilty of this when reaing a "real" book, but not when I read on my nook or iPad. Probably because touching the screen usually turns the page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, you're never alone when you're on the internet!

      I have the old Kindle model. That's not changing anytime soon. Touch screens drive me up a wall.

      Delete
  2. This does happen when I'm reading a part that surprises or shocks me or is just THAT awesome...it's usually accompanied by: "oh my gosh, did that really just happen?" and then I'll read the part out loud while dragging my index along the sentences...so yeah, not really for pace or prevention of back tracking...just plain theatrics haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have had to do that. I actually did that several times with Slammed.

      Delete
  3. I only track when I'm reading something required and difficult, like theory texts or boring articles in grad school. Sometimes I had to read them aloud, with a funny accent, to get the text to stick. Otherwise, I read really fast. Like my brain is a Bounty paper towel. It absorbs quickly and well on the first pass. The last book I read, I caught myself reading in chunks, like my brain was taking photos of each page and absorbing it whole.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the "chunks method" would work well with text books.

      In college I had to read something two or three times to understand it, but those were technical manuals, and not literature.

      Delete
  4. When I'm reading something for school or work I tend to follow along with my pen (retracted).

    I tend to use my finger to keep track depending on the side of the print. The smaller the text the more I tend to lose my place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it just text books or regular books? I find it difficult with a regular paperback book because they won't lay flat.

      Delete
  5. Sometimes I have to follow along with my finger too but I always do it from paragraph to paragraph instead of line to line, which is probably kind of weird. But I don't do this very often. Maybe I should? I have to go back and re-read all the time. I'm probably the one that made that percentage so high. Eh, I'm fine with it so *shrug*.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find following along with my finger helps me keep my place so I stay more focused. It could just be mental, but it helps.

      Delete
  6. My whole reading life is regression and back-skipping. But it's because I'm always so focused on how the writer is using language, while also trying to absorb the story. For me, every novel is the equivalent of your technical manuals in college, Adam!

    ReplyDelete
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