Read like a writer, not just like a student
I read slowly. It takes me twice or three as much time as my friends need to read through an article or any other kind of text. There are many other reasons for that, first of all, I have never practiced reading that much and that difficult in any foreign language. Second of all, even when in my mother tongue, I read like a writer.
I don’t read to catch the content, or at least I don’t usually do so.
I’d rather give the words time to live vividly in my mind, like it is not me the one who read, but it’s these letters that whisper to me their stories, pages through pages. I carefully consider every word choice, every sentence structure and every paragraph layout. I read to soak my mind in a picture, of which the outlines and colors made of not only linguistic semantic, but pragmatic too in the broadest sense. I read not in order to be in another world, nor to escape the reality (I prefer self-helps and non-fictions to novels and fictions, so basically I read to understand this world, instead of escaping it) I read in order to fill my mind with words, and in further sense, with languages – one of my passions.
To read like a writer has both pros and cons, especially when you also are a student and reading is an indispensable part of what you do.
Cons: as always, it takes me forever to work through reading assignments. Bonus cons: I either read in german or english, and I read scientific texts, means that it takes me half of the time required to read dictionary. I was once overwhelmed. I hated to maintain or even worse, to have that habit from the very beginning. I wish I has never been into languages that much.
However, right at this point I realize the pros: I understand things much deeper and remember them much longer. Looking up new words in dictionaries, I came across words I don’t really understand the meaning even in my mother tongue. “Mehrwertsteuer” for example. I don’t exactly know what it is. For the matter of fact, words can’t live like I’d like them to do, when I don’t understand them. Hence, since it already takes me forever to read, I can just give myself some extra time to google these terminologies. Slowly, I prepare myself much broader background information, that allow me to understand scientific contend much easier.
To be more vidid, all these background reading is like digging a hole. Professors want you do dig a very deep one about certain facts, but you only have very narrow surface. Cannot dig too deep into that. You have to work on a wider surface first, before you go, or can go any deeper.
Still, I envy people who can read fast, to be totally honest. I will keep on practicing to improve my reading tempo. And still, there are readings that very painful and words just cannot live the way I wish them to. Nonetheless, it makes me much happier realising that I can actually write and communicate better, thanks to such way of reading.
From an international student point of view, to gain better knowledge of a language is always first thing to check off on the to do list. From a writer point of view, to be able to give words “a life” not only in your mind while reading, but more important, to give them new one in your blog, to turn them into your very own content, is such an extraordinary contentment!