One reason Jacqueline Woodson gives for reading slowly in her Ted Talk was that reading helps you connect with the past or to understand the future. It also makes us feel less alone in the world and allows us to be inspired through someone else’s story. Reading makes sure that people’s stories are passed on. The reason that stood out to me the most was that it helps drown out the noise from today’s technology and to remember those who came before us. Woodson gave an example of her own ancestors who did not have the luxury of being able to read. She reads to pay homage to her ancestors and the stories that they passed down in other ways. This makes me realize that I don’t really appreciate my ability to read or anything I read because I’m so consumed by fast-paced technology. I don’t remain informed about stories of the past because I’m constantly being distracted by the noise of technology. I also enjoy fast reading because I also tend to associate it with being able to read on a higher level. However, I don’t pay attention to the details that Woodson talks about, which makes me realize I’m not actually reading better.
I decided to reevaluate “Paradoxes of American Individualism” with the new approach of reading slower. When I first read it, I simply skimmed the article for key ideas presented by the author. I noticed details such as how well the author organizes the ideas presented in the article and how in-depth the examples were. For example, I learned that Americans marry at the highest rate and have more children. Before, I only focused on the fact that Americans are less likely to support divorce. Reading slower made me have a deeper understanding of the concepts that I initially did not understand well.
Perhaps Jacqueline Woodson is on to something. I’d be a better student if I learned to read slower and seek to be absorbed in information rather than jumping ahead and being carried away by technology.