The Reading Mind

The Reading mind | Daniel T. Willingham

🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

🎨 Impressions

This book presents an exceptional overview of the cognitive processes involved in reading. The author commences with an examination of symbolic comprehension and proceeds to explicate the broader significance of reading, encompassing the comprehension of letters, sentences, and entire passages.

How I Discovered It

Who Should Read It?

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

How my life / behaviour / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

📒 Ideas

Reading is an ongoing process of problem-solving

  • Never consider reading as a simple act. Even before you start to read, you solve one problem after another.
    • What books to read, where to read.
    • Why should I read it in the first place.
    • What purpose serves reading this particular book?
  • What’s more, efficient reading depends on the ability to decode symbols on paper or other sources of the text, such as messages, billboards, captions on the screen and leaflets on the tube.
    • Second in the importance goes an ability to remember information. It’s called [[Active recall|active recall]], where similar to this information has I come across.
    • From memory, our ability to inference is born. We draw conclusions only after we checked our memory. The better the memory, the higher the effectiveness of reading.
  • I don’t even mention, physical activity, movement of our eyes, which is extremely sporadic, to say the least.

A strong reader is not yet demanding, but close

  • He has a broad vocabulary and can understand the definition of the word from the context it is being used in.
  • His reading serves a purpose, and the purpose in only to understand thoughts. Ours current or from the past, if we read a diary.
    • Or someone else’s.
    • Because ideas are conveyed only via text, verbal or visual. It depends on the medium used. Like radio, TV or meeting, book, article, notes.
  • A strong reader has an extensive vocabulary and a deep network of connected words.
    • It is the breadth and depth of vocabulary what makes him strong, compared to others.
    • Strong readers, read a lot, and their writing improves as the richness of their vocabulary grows.
    • Strong readers always look forward to reading even harder than the previous book because for them, it is the only way to expand the vocabulary.
    • And simple advice to read more is nothing to a person who has a vast word groundwork. For them, the only way to improve, is to read more.
      • Thus, we close the loop of positive feedback, read more to become better, the more you read, the more you need to read in order to stay on top and be the king of the jungle.

Reading comprehension is a complex process of weaving one meaning with another

[!NOTE] Daniel Willingham
Comprehension is a product of connecting ideas.
– Reading mind

  • From sounds to words, and from words to sentences, then from sentences we understand whole paragraphs, books, articles
    • Comprehension is about three main features.
      • Extracting ideas from sentences.
      • [[Когда книга учит#Content doesn’t play any role in understanding, only links between ideas»|Connecting ideas]] to one another.
        • This is a crucial part, as editors of old used to say, that a telegraph pole in nothing more than well-redacted pine.
      • Building a general idea of what the text is about.
    • These three elements are the core abilities around which the demanding reader builds his activities. I don’t have a note about demanding reader, but I have about [[How to speak How to listen#The demanding listener»|listener]] of the same kind.
      • The most crucial difference is an ability to ask questions.
      • Usually readers are worried by 5 elements of the story.
        • What character is doing?
        • Timing of the events.
        • Space and time relations between elements of the story.
        • Casual links in the text. I think it is logic.
        • And of all events are connected to the main goal of a character.
      • These elements should be adopted to the non-fiction prose. In what way can we do this?
        • What is the author doing? What is his aim, agenda with this book?
        • The period in which the book was written. It’s important to understand the condition in which the author was working.
        • Relation his ideas have to the real life events of his period.
        • Logic of the text. It is logical or just mumbling and bumbling.
        • Are logic and ideas connected in a sound way with the author’s aim?

What a demanding reader does that others don’t

  • First thing he does – shears noise.
    • He doesn’t remember the sentence verbatim, but he excellently remembers the gist the sentence conveys. What the author wanted to tell the reader, without unnecessary words to tarnish the core meaning.
    • So, when the demanding reader gets an idea he leaves it, but discards the particular words, used by the author to transmit it.
    • I think It is important to make a scheme of how the reader decomposes the text and how he perceives it.
      • [[Model of reading the information by the demanding reader. How he sees every text.canvas|Model of reading the information by the demanding reader. How he sees every text]]
  • Extracting ideas is not hard, compared to linking or building a general idea of the text.
    • We are going to call this process building the web of ideas.
    • When you read the word “school” you immediately remember your first teacher, first school, first love. This word is connected with much more than it represents by itself.
    • The main problem arises when a reader tries knitting ideas together.
    • We usually build a mental representation model where each separate word is a node. And we connect nodes according to the whims of our mood, or if we have a strong logical background, we do it according to the logic.
    • The most interesting question here is exactly this. How we connect words, according to what rule?
      • There is a theory that we attach sentences, using certain principles.
        • One of them is similarity. Like with the word “school”, mentioned above. It might be, used in the context of education: A school is a building. A school is nice. A school is for children. A school is safe.
      • Another type of connection is based on properties of the object or principle.
        • Relativity is a theory. Probability is a theory. Theory is science.
      • When the paper is written, the writer signals the reader what comes next, with different keywords. But, however – contradiction. Moreover, in addition – another point. Thus, hence – consequence.
  • Building an idea web is relatively easy for a strong reader, what’s sometimes hard for an untrained or inexperienced reader is recognizing the bigger picture through emerging patter.
    • In the end, reading is also a process of [[Seeing patterns in a text is a matter of experience|connecting dots]].
    • Seeing a bigger picture means building a situation model. At the core, it’s a representation of everything from the text and cross connection with other topics and disciplines.
    • The situation model is actually the context you are at the moment.
      • Because of this, it helps with ruthless trimming of trivialities.
      • It helps in avoiding random trimming, and highlights what’s important and omits less important information.

Goal setting is the first step from strong towards the demanding reader

  • It’s easy to fall prey to simplicity. There is nothing simple in the act of reading. Make inferences. Draw conclusions. It’s not so straightforward. Actually, it’s almost impossible to achieve
    • To draw any conclusion, we have to do it based on something. We are not Faraday, who asked his students to make inferences from contemplating the [[Глупый вопрос|candle]].
    • Instead of doing it the Faraday’s way, much better is to give some goals, like:
      • Answer to a specific [[Фундаментальные вопросы для jumpstart а мыслительной деятельности#Вопросы для настройки перед чтением|question]].
      • Find the main idea of the text. It’s another exercise that I’ve been given by Denis, actually a good one.
      • Or our favourite intellect maps.
    • Low-level readers don’t know these strategies; thus they benefit the most from them. High-level skill readers deploy strategies at will as they read.
    • Low-level readers lack another skill altogether. Because they do not set the goal for the reading, they tend to miss the links between sentences. Hence, they don’t see contradictions, if there are any to be found.

The mysterious case of loving the reading

  • There is a certain positive loop connected with reading and high skill readers heavily exploit.
    • Good reading skills → enjoy the process of reading → better attitude toward reading → read even more.
      • At some point when understanding of the value comes, a reading person begins the process of changing his [[Mindful Self-Discipline Living with Purpose and Achieving Your Goals in a World of Distractions#I’ve decide, and therefore I do|identity]].
      • Good reading skills → enjoy the process of reading → better attitude toward reading → sees oneself as a reader → read even more
    • Because of that, reading is an emotional process, not logical. Logical is called studying. We do this most of our lives, and this leads us to look down on reading as if this activity is not worth participating in.
    • So, if logical reasoning won’t do you any good, what then? Forget about logic.
    • Concentrate on expectancy-value.
      • We choose to read because two things have happened:
        • How valuable the outcome of your reading? We usually explain to ourselves when we answer the question: What do I want to learn on the topic of the book?
        • If I try reading the book, will I actually get that outcome? This is resolved or at least drawn some boundaries with the next question: How information from the book, might or will be useful to me?

Reading is not a free ride

  • As with everything in our lives, we have to pay for reading as well. One of the ways we do it, by expending our [[Формула критического мышления#^66b1ba|attention]] reserves on the book.
    • The more difficult the text, the more attention it demands.
    • The more skillful the reader, the less attention he needs for complex texts.

Demanding reader, another addition to a bigger idea

  • I definitely need to make separate, not for this idea. It’s getting bigger and bigger.
    • It’s not only about questions, but also about certain cognitive aspects.
    • How our brain works during a process of transforming visual images from the page into personal meaning.

📚Related Books

  • [[2000 words. Reading is a problem-solving]]
  • [[Some excerpts from the the book Reading Mind. Gathered for the decompostion]]