Linear vs Nonlinear Reading

It’s difficult for me to enjoy reading linear text. I’ve always struggled with linear reading, forcing myself to go through everything, but taking a long time to do it. I have an overwhelming urge to say that my brain is wired for nonlinear reading. I need to be able to gather all the important bits and pieces first. Afterwards, I can determine whether there’s something important that I might want to focus on. In that case, I would go back and try some linear reading.

I think nonlinear reading is following to how we operate as a society. Many things have focus on speed and efficiency. It’s similar to that saying, “Don’t work harder, work smarter.” Linear reading can become tedious, especially for people who have short attention spans.

As much as I support nonlinear reading, I do believe that linear reading is important. Whenever I get motivated, I am able to do some linear reading. I was surprised that I was about to finish one of the Percy Jackson books within a few days. It’s something that usually takes me over a week.

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2 Responses to Linear vs Nonlinear Reading

  1. Marilyn Arnone says:

    I think you’ve hit on something, Jonathan. Kids today do seem more wired for nonlinear reading as you also feel that you are. And they want answers sooner rather than later. It’s almost as if we are going to have to provide training in relaxation techniques for reading linear books for pleasure! Knowing how much reading for pleasure contributes to reading improvement though is reason enough for us to encourage linear reading in as many ways as possible. Thanks for an interesting post, Jonathan.

  2. Joy says:

    Jonathan –
    I have a hard time reading graphic novels and wish that I didn’t, and it seems that some students like you have the opposite issue. I hadn’t thought much about it until your post. Thanks! Helpful information.


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