Re-reading (for speed)

Technique: re-read something you’ve read before

Why is this even a post? There’s zero new content here, zero ideas that you haven’t read elsewhere or thought of yourself. But the fact it, so few learners spend time re-reading text that they’ve already read, that it’s worth my writing this just to encourage you to do it.

Suppose your reading a text. Perhaps you’re even using the “Reading in 3s” method I outlined some time ago. And you’re getting along in a book (Italian Athenaze perhaps? One of my current favourites for doing lots of easy reading).

Go back to the start, set a timer, read for 10 minutes. Stop.

How did you go? Reading like this should be a lot easier than it was the first time, or the 2nd or 3rd. And the fact that you’ve read this is what makes faster reading possible. But it’s also a really easy, effective way of getting more reading in. You’re reading material that you’ve previously understood, so now you should be reading it with greater comprehension, and faster. Increased accuracy, increased speed.

This is also a great way to refresh your memory on low-frequency vocab items. ἕωθεν and ἀπέραντος are both words that appear very early in Athenaze Italian, not words I had been terribly familiar with, and not words that appear a lot in the chapters that follow. How to get repeated exposure? Rereading the earlier chapters!

So do yourself a favour, don’t spend all your time reading “new” things, spend some of your time revisiting old things. Increased proficiency and acquisition will be your reward.

3 responses

  1. Really appreciate your blog. Out of curiosity, how often do you incorporate re-reading into your reading routine?

    • Thanks, Daniel.

      Hmm, every now and again? These days I mainly try to make sure I get some language work in each day. If I’m feeling not really up for tackling new content, I’ll do some re-reading and work through either an earlier section of something I’m currently reading, or something I’ve previously read.

      I don’t really have a prescriptivist rule to lay down on this.