Reading and my brain

My reading-aloud skills are not as good as they used to be. Either that or long, old-fashioned sentences, plus unfamiliar place names, are throwing me off more than I would have expected.

Part of it, I have to admit, is all the words that I’m familiar with in print but not 100% sure how to pronounce. Bivouac. Abatis. Untoward. What does one actually say when one sees an abbreviation like viz.? And then every so often they throw in French.

It’s also interesting because this is pretty complicated, dry stuff, and if I were reading it by myself, I would be pausing a lot to look at maps and double-check people’s names. But since I’m trying to read it so it flows smoothly, and not do any of that, a lot of it goes by without me really knowing what it means.

I’m not hyperlexic by the official definition, as I understand it, because while I did learn to read very well at a young age, my reading comprehension was also very good from the start, and hyperlexia implies not understanding what you read. But I sort of think that I have something in common with people who are hyperlexic, because I can… turn off my reading comprehension, basically. I can read aloud without really being aware of what I’m saying and what it means. With something that’s kind of technical and confusing, like this book, I can sort of slip into that accidentally, although I normally have control over it.

———-

I decided to try the Beeline Reader program again– I saw a post about it on Tumblr. What it does is give text a slowly-changing color gradient, so that your eyes are led from one line to the next and you’re less likely to lose your place. They advertise it as something that will increase your reading speed. Last time I came across it, I took their little test-run thing, and decided I didn’t want to use it. Focusing on reading as quickly as possible just isn’t very pleasant? I end up doing the hyperlexia thing even though I’m not reading out loud– mentally saying all the words, but faster than I can actually understand them.

I don’t read that slowly normally, at least I think I don’t (Sparkly is significantly faster than me, though.) But I do tend to pause a lot to think about what I’ve read, or re-read short sections, just to process and understand better. Reading faster just doesn’t seem like a useful goal to me.

But the color gradient does make it easier to keep my place and avoid skipping lines.

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