Slow Readers

I-am-in-the-slow-read-ers-group… as the poem goes. Like so many of Allan Ahlberg’s poems, this one absolutely captures the powerful emotions of childhood. I-am-in-the-slow-read-ers-group-that-is-all-I-am-in-I-hate-it.

I’m a slow reader. I always have been, although I don’t think there was a group for it at my school. I don’t know why I’m slow – I enjoy reading and I read a lot as a child. I’m just slow at it. I’m astounded when friends tell me how many books they read in a month – part of that is making time to read them, but it’s also about how many words you can get through in an hour.

I can, if I want, skim read. But doing so is a largely pointless exercise – nothing really sinks in and I get no pleasure from it. That’s fine if I’m scanning for particular information or trying to find the right place to begin, but with fiction, I feel it’s just a waste of time to skim.

As a writer, it’s important to read. We could debate what books are the best – writers’ guides, fiction, books in the genre one writes or not – but everyone agrees it’s important to read. And so I do. I’ve just started Bridget Jones’ diary – partly for fun, partly as research for the chicklit novel I hope to write in November. I’ve got 10 days to read it before the library wants it back (their no-renewals rule is discriminatory against slow readers!).

I am in the slow readers group. I’m not a child, so I don’t hate it, but it is annoying. My husband, my brother, and anyone else who has tried to share a newspaper with me will surely agree!


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12 responses to “Slow Readers

  1. I am not a slow reader but there are times I slow right down to better savour the words I am reading, to let them penetrate. Processing has a big part to play in how we read. Are you a more ponderous, thoughtful person? Do you like to mull things over as you read? If so, that may explain why you process the page more slowly. Just a thought. :)x

  2. Dear Jennifer,

    I feel your “pain”. I’m also a slow reader. Perhaps it would be better to say that we savor a good book like fine wine. Quality vs. quantity. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😉



  3. Steve

    Thanks for reminding me of that poem! Ahlberg was great 🙂

  4. A ten-day limit with no renewals??? That’s a jail-able offense as far as I’m concerned!


  5. Dear Jennifer,

    I believe you are in good company. I read slowly and again and again. You probably remember details well, unlike those who blaze through a book and cannot tell you the author’s name a year later.

    I’d write more but you have books to finish.



  6. I’m quite a fast reader but that’s in some part down to the type of books I generally read. After 10 hours at work I can’t handle anything heavy, so slow reading is not required!
    I’ll tell you what though, fast reading plus Kindle ownership equals expensive!

  7. I’m quite a fast reader, but I do tend to re-read quite a lot. Not sure what that makes me! I just love reading. SD

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