There are two modes of reading: active and passive. Passive reading of course is not completely passive, but active reading refers to being completely engaged with the subject. Later parts of the book will apparently return to this topic.
Reading for information is to read material that is immediately understandable. You may (or may not) learn new things this but there is no deep inequality in understanding between the author and the reader.
Reading for entertainment doesn’t really imply any useful information gain.
Reading for understanding is when the material is not immediately understandable, and we use the material to try to build understanding. This can only happen when the author understands the material better than the reader. This book is about reading for understanding.
Learning by Instruction is summarized as learning from books, other writing, lectures, etc., where an instructor is attempting to share knowledge; whereas learning by discovery is learning topics from nature directly.
Books can’t answer questions.
Four levels of reading:
Various methods of teaching children to read are described. This book was written in the 1970s and is super Americentric.
The four stages are elements of the first level.
Formal education should but does not teach reading. University graduates should be competent syntopical readers but that skill is generally not developed until graduate school, if at all.
Reading is important. We should teach it better.
In order to use inspectional reading on a book, one must be able to read it at an elementary level – i.e. be able to make sense of it on a granular level.
Inspectional reading is divided into two separate activities, which are performed simultaneously but discussed separately here.
This is a method of building a broad conceptual framework to hang the rest of the book’s contents on.
In tackling a difficult book for the first time, read it through without ever stopping to look up or ponder the things you do not understand right away.
Trying too hard to understand the minutiae initially can make it easy to miss a fairly apparently general theme. It’s productive to learn the parts that are accessible before putting in effort to fully understand everything. Don’t miss the forest for the trees.
Every book contains filler material that can be read more quickly, and every good book contains difficult material that should be read more slowly. Inspectional reading generally means faster reading than analytical. Speed-reading is kind of important but more important is varying reading speed to suit the desired level of comprehension.
Fixation is a point where eyes halt on a word; regression is skipping back to something previously read. Both are wasteful habits in terms of reading speed and can be trained away by practicing speed-reading.
One can’t speed-read a complex passage and comprehend it sufficiently. This book is about improving comprehension.
Every book should be read no more slowly than it deserves, and no more quickly than you can read it with enjoyment and comprehension.
Always skim/pre-read a book.
Do not try to understand everything on the first read through.
Race to the end of even the hardest book, and be prepared to dwell more carefully on the second pass.
The two phases of Inspectional Reading are anticipations of Analytical Reading.
Sounds like this chapter will describe strategies to concentrate and focus on reading.
Ask yourself four main questions about a book as you read it:
Much of part 2 will deal with these questions. 4 is particularly relevant to syntopical reading.
Falling asleep reading a good book is an indication that you’re not engaging with the content at the level demanded.
Have a conversation with the book. Mark it up with a pencil (or highlight things on kindle I guess)
Author suggests all sorts of specific kinds of annotations, but basically:
Underline/highlight stuff that seems important or difficult
Star/asterisk really important parts
annotate points in the development of an argument with numbers
Write questions, thinking critically about the work.
Do it I guess? This seemed content-free.
Reading effectively is a complex act with many subordinate parts. Much like skiing, it is awkward at first, but graceful with enough practice.
We focus on books because they’re more challenging than other writings, being the longest common form.
It’s not always obvious. Plenty of examples are given of novels with historical, scientific, etc. components.
Expository books are written primarily to convey knowledge.
This all seems fairly obvious. Practical books impart knowledge meant to be put into action; theoretical books just try to expound a topic. It’s a gradient, but it’s worth thinking about what positions a book at a given point on this spectrum.
The traditional subdivision of theoretical books is:
Again, this all seems obvious.
If this can’t be stated in a sentence or two, you don’t understand the overarching goal of the book.
Understanding the central thrust of the book greatly helps to put into context the more episodic parts.
Yeah, outlining is helpful, ok.
An outline by itself isn’t useful to read. The flesh on the skeleton is as important to a good book as it is to an animal.
These four rules comprise the first stage of analytical reading, where an understanding of the structure and purpose of the book is deepened. Briefly restated, these are:
Often the difficult words, or the ones enlisted into somewhat unconventional use.
Difficult words aren’t necessarily keywords, they can just be the grist of technical literature.
Words. Terms. Understand through context. K.
The series of propositions and supporting arguments throughout a book form a separate structural scheme from an outline, but are also important.
Propositions are the answers to questions
i.e. the solutions to the problems identified in rule 4.