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posted by [personal profile] ginnyvos at 11:06am on 05/07/2009 under , ,
Random Note: Weird to think about

Alright, so I was thinking... And yes, that's hardly ever a good thing.

Either way, most of you guys know I'm dyslectic. Essentially this means that my language procession in general and my reading and writing in specific is just slightly different from that of normal people.

Now this question might sound odd but my question is this:
How do normal people read?

I know how I read myself; I litterally read out loud inside my head. That also means I can't read any faster than you speak. It means interpunction is very important because that's how my inner voice pronounces a sentence and that, when reading out loud, I read at exactly the same pace as I talk, and I can't read ahead while speaking.

For years on end I've thought that's how everyone reads. Now I found out that it isn't. So there you go. How do you read?

Mood:: 'curious' curious
location: garden table
There are 7 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] at 09:43am on 05/07/2009
Erm, well, I can't read ahead while speaking either. Maybe to the end of the sentence in a pause in my speaking, but not much farther than that.

As for just reading to myself: I read really fast. Anything descriptive, I just let my eyes glide over the words and then a picture forms in my head. You know you're reading a good author when you don't even think about the words anymore, you just sort of watch the story unfold in a mental film.
Dialogue, however, I do thend to notice the language. The characters speak the words in my head. Each character has their own voice and I just sort of hear that.
When I'm reading a story meant to be read aloud (like Aesop's fables for example), there's a sort of generic narrator in my head who reads the story, but in fast-forward. It's funny, because it really doesn't sound fast in my head and I hear the cadence of the story just as if someone was reading it to me, but it just takes about 1/3 of the time ;-D
posted by [identity profile] at 10:50am on 05/07/2009
That's a really interesting thought! :)

I, too, read out loud in my head. But the voice in my head speaks much more quickly than my normal speaking voice.

Now I'm tempted to ask my family and friends. It sounds like a conversation starter! :D
scribblemoose: default dw icon (ed_book)
posted by [personal profile] scribblemoose at 11:22am on 05/07/2009
What a fascinating question. I just had a conversation with the Man about it, as he's a primary school teacher and is one of the most voracious readers I know. (He reads hard stuff like history books and latin primers for fun. O.O)

We decided we read in four different ways, depending on what we're reading and why:

1) Reading each word out loud in our heads at speech-rate - usually if we're really enjoying the language of something, the same way you'd eat a really tasty chocolate, or luxuriate in a bath. Or if it's something we want to remember, or are having difficulty understanding. A bit like when you see a photograph or painting and think 'wow, great use of light' or 'lovely colours'.

2) Reading out loud in our heads, but faster - you do see every word, but you get lost more in the meaning than the words, so your mind focuses on the story rather than the language itself. (As magicalmongoose described really well further up the comments.) (To use the visual analogy again, when you see a photo and think 'oh, she's thin', or 'that reminds me of the house where I grew up'.

3) Skim-reading - where you read without really focusing on individual words or even the thread of any story or argument, but just select the key points on a 'need to know' basis and disregard the rest. A lot of academic study relies on this sort of reading, which is hard for most dyslexics (see below).

4) Scanning - where you cast your eye over words hunting for something specific, like looking up a name in the phone book.

The Man and I agreed that in our experience of working with dyslexics we see the main problem with 2-4 above being that it relies on advanced pattern-matching, and most dyslexics just don't see patterns in words and letters the way others do - for example words don't look the same if they're in different fonts, or in different places in a sentence. So, as the Man put it, ordinary reading for dyslexics is like reading really bad handwriting or poor spelling for the rest of us. Hence more time needs to be taken and reading is a more conscious process. However, the reward for that is that when they do read they miss far less and often appreciate detail in language and composition that elude those who skim or read more by pattern-matching and guesswork.

This is a really fascinating topic. Do you mind if I repost the question in my LJ? I'd love to know more about others' experiences! (As writers I think we can learn a lot from how others access our work, for one thing!)
posted by [identity profile] at 01:21pm on 05/07/2009
First of all, thank you so much for your (and your man's) elaborate response, it's great to know I'm not the only one fascinated, and it'd be very awesome if you posted this as well. Besides, you have access to a far greater number of people, so that means more potential answers!

As a psych major, I learn a lot about how people with specific disorders function differently. (well actually, you read that between the line while getting lists of symptoms, but yeah) but I often miss the apposing 'normally'. I mean, I know how I read (more or less). I can better understand how my extremely dyslectic brother reads and spells than even our mom, who has a minor case of dyslexia herself and has been tutoring him since he was 6 and needed to start learning to read... But I'm curious to know how other, 'normal' people read. What is normal in my reading despite the dyslexia? What IS affected?

You're completely right when you say that I take in more of the detail. Since I can't skim, scan, or even read faster, I take everything in in great detail. I spend a lot of time reading my study books during the course - that I than don't have to spend rereading them by the end of the semester because I need to focus so much on the pure reading.

most dyslexics just don't see patterns in words and letters the way others do

This is so very true. I often say that when writing, I can write the same word three times within a sentence, and white it different and wrong every time.
My brother's teacher once had a boy who teased him about his dyslexia read with a peace of paper that had a hole cut into it just big enough to see one letter a time. The boy was dead tired after the midday and I don't think he ever said a word about my brother being over-privileged after that.

(A bit of background info; while I'm fairly dyslectic, my younger brother is ten times worse. When he first made it to highschool, the remedial teacher told my mom that she'd never, in her 20 year career, seen a student as bad as him. Where in maths and such he's close to brilliant (he manages to score perfectly on whatever test they give him and solves rubics cubes by making up formula's for them), he still asks people to read stuff aloud for him at 18, because having someone read it to him is twice as fast as actually having to read it himself).

It's a good thing both my brother and me are such extreme lovers of books, or neither of us would have come to anything :P
ext_33880: (Art - Vermeer red hat)
posted by [identity profile] at 06:47pm on 05/07/2009
Depends on how you define normal people. XD I read rather fast. If I focus enough I can read ahead as I read out loud, but for the most part I scan the text with my eyes and it just works. That depends also on what kind of text I'm reading, when it's narrative books I'm likely to skip words which improves the speed but sometimes I miss details.

yay, butterfly layout!
posted by [identity profile] at 05:52am on 06/07/2009
I read strangely xP

I always have to hear a voice when I'm reading, and while I generally read description faster than a normal speaking voice, when it comes to dialogue it tends to slow down a bit.

This is partly because (or mostly?) of my overactive imagination. Back when I was in grade 6 or 7, I realized that while I absolutely adored reading, what made it even more fun for me was to place characters from shows/fandoms I like into the story, regardless of whether or not their actual character matched the story character, and 'see' the story in my head: the characters looked like the ones from the specific show/fandom but dressed like they would in the world they were in, and all of the action sequences were played out in a way that I could 'see' them.

I mentioned this to my grade 8 teacher at a student/parent/teacher interview when he inquired about my reading habits, and he found it really interesting and even brought it up to the class as a way to make reading more enjoyable.

So, I guess there are plenty of different ways to read!
posted by [identity profile] at 01:45pm on 06/07/2009
I read a bit faster then I read, and I also mutter under my breath just what I read, and I mouth what I write when I type. I also try out words in different way out loud, or make voices as I read, then giggles of it. I get allot of stares from that. Espechially when pronounce things, and try to sound like how I imagine the characters in the book sounding.



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