On Tue, 19 Aug 1997 18:35:07 -0400 Cheryl B Stratton said:
>I am a math teacher but have some thoughts on speed reading. - mostly
>negative-  :)
>I thought what happened to me was unique until talking to another math
>teacher I found it was his experience also.  Now this has raised enough
>interest for me that I will research it.
>When I was in elementary  school I was always a very slow reader.  I was
>told I had 100% comprehension but read too slowly.  So, I was put in the
>"Blue Bird" reading group. Everyone knew that was not as good as the "Red
>Bird" group and it stagmatized me for life.
>I tell my students this story with my analysis that in order to be a good
>math or science or computer science student this is the way you must read.
>If a reading teacher had just had the forethought to see the benefits of
>reading slowly I could have begun my successful mathematics study earlier.
>Students think that they are supposed to read mathematics and the sciences
>in the same way they read in other disciplines or read a novel.  This is
>not good!!!!
>So, I do not believe speed reading is good for some students. And I hope
>that reading teachers reading this will reflect on their students who read
>slowly and encourage them to read some math and science.  And before you
>say how boring - let them try reading some mysteries and science fiction.
>If they can figure out "who done it" they just might be good math/science
>Any thoughts?
>Dr. Cheryl B. Stratton
>Assistant Professor
>Developmental Mathematics
>Learning Support Programs Department
>Suite 700, One Park Place South
>Georgia State University
>Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
>E-mail:  [log in to unmask]

Thank you, Cheryl!  I have had battles both as a student and as a
teacher/testing specialist on the issue of speed.  As a child I was,
and as an adult still am, slow.  I read slowly, I do everything
slowly and deliberately.  In a world that values speed, this
created some negative reactions, though fortunately it did not
influence any decisions about my education the way it did with you.
In elementary school I was sometimes criticized for being slow.
I was once told it would be a good idea to take speed reading,
but I never did and was never penalized externally for not doing so.

As a grad student I worked as a secretary.  Fortunately I got a job
in a place where they valued accuracy and appearance of typing (this
was before the age of word processing) more than speed, because although
my work was always careful and neat, I never could get myself up
beyond 40 words per minute on a good day.

Later, as a testing researcher for City U. of NY, I fought faculty
who thought that reading and math tests *should* be speeded because
the fast student is necessarily the better student, which not only
did I not agree with, but many experts in testing do not believe

Through my study of metacognition I discovered that
educated people's reading rates generally go down because they
think while they read.  Graduate students often read more slowly
than they did in college and earlier.

I wish the world, including many teachers, would recognize that
everyone has a different style of learning and doing things, and
that the process of how one thinks and learns, and what one comes
up with, are more important than the speed with which one does it.
Perhaps some developmental students do read too slowly, but I would
rather work with them on pre-reading, metacognitive strategies and
ways to increase their interest and involvement with the reading
than on speed as a separate entity, since these generally seem to
be part of their reading difficulties.

Annette Gourgey
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