Home / Notes / Reduced reading speed increases comprehension

Reduced reading speed increases comprehension

Information is first processed by the sensory memory, a form of the multi-store memory model with a duration of 0.25 to 0.5 seconds. In order for information to be transferred to the next stage of memory (the short-term memory), the senses must pay attention to something.

Based on my understanding of Reading can be shallow or deep, comprehension of the written word goes down when the reader skims through a piece; deliberately increasing their reading speed. It stands to reason, then, that deliberately slowing down reading would improve comprehension. To what extent is this true—is there an optimal speed for reading that maximises comprehension? When do diminishing returns between speed and comprehension occur?

Reading, because we control it, is adaptable to our needs and rhythms. We are free to indulge our subjective associative impulse; the term I coin for this is deep reading: the slow and meditative possession of a book. —Sven Birkets, The Gutenberg Elegies