The Bad Habits of Good Readers by Carol Jago

Does your child take his time picking out a book, and then even more time getting through it? Is she more than happy to read nothing, rather than a book she doesn’t like? This article on Nerdy Book Club made me appreciate the Slow Readers in my family, and made me wonder if my Fast Reading habits were akin to Fast Food.

I read this list of “bad habits of good readers,” and saw myself. I pride myself on my healthy eating habits, then treat books like junk food. I’m never without one, even at most meals. I even read BETWEEN meals. I was that kid with the book in the back of the classroom–whether I understood half the words or not, it didn’t matter as long as I was reading. I read Gone With the Wind three times before I knew how Scarlett got pregnant.

Thoughtful readers take the time to digest. They value quality over quantity. They can remember the plot of a novel days, even weeks after closing its pages–as opposed to the avid reader who stays up all night to finish a book in a mad, crazed, rush… much like eating an entire bag of Doritos. By morning, the experience leaves you wiped out and dyspeptic.

My husband, I have to admit, can be just as bad. He’s sneakier about it, preferring the stealth of an e-reader so I can’t track his progress. But many a morning he’s groggy and out of sorts, in that way that can only mean “What am I going to read next?”

Now even my Slow Readers are adopting our bad habits. They might take their time picking out their next book, but both kids read at breakfast and in the car. They complain at night when it’s time to turn the light off. “Just one more chapter!” is our bedtime rallying cry. So we read. Just a few more minutes, just one more page, and before we know it, we’ve left bedtime far behind.

We’d all be better off if we got more sleep. Slow Reading should probably be the next big movement, next to Slow Food and Plank. But at least when we binge on books, there’s no corn chip crumbs in the bed.

Source: The Bad Habits of Good Readers by Carol Jago

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