By Carol Jago
Time for a confession. While applauding the model of teachers as master readers and students as apprentices, it seems to me that before we recommend students become just like us, we would do well to examine what compulsive readers actually do.
In my experience, avid readers often:
1. Value speed over reflection. Such readers seldom pause between books to think about what they have read. They reach for the next one with hardly an intake of breath.
2. Skip anything they find boring. Unlike inexpert readers, these “master” readers feel free to jump past anything that interrupts the flow of a story. They skim descriptive passages and skip embedded poetry or quotations altogether (for example the medieval tale within Edgar Allan Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher.”).
3. Care more about their personal reading than assigned reading. I have known many who performed very poorly in high school, preferring to prop a book inside their textbooks and simply read their way through the school day. I was one of these students, at least in Geometry.