I'm a big reader. I spend a great deal of my time regularly consuming texts such as blog posts, news and journal articles--I'm a huge internet reader--my college course books, novels, and professional literature relevant to educators. Yet, the thought keeps coming back to me: less is more, less is more. It's as if something is telling me to slow down--slow down and really spend time stewing for a bit on whatever I'm reading.
With today's ubiquitous availability of information and reading material and the rate at which it is created, shared, and turned-over, it's so easy to get caught up in it. (My PLN--which I love and am so thankful for because of the learning opportunities I'm afforded--is a great example of this.) It becomes akin to a race where I try to read as much as I can as fast as I can because I feel like that's what I have to do in order to keep up. And then it's easy to lose sight of what's really important: engaging with the text, broadening my understanding, and deepening my learning. I have to force myself to stop and ask: when I read (or even skim) a lot at a fast pace, how much am I actually letting set in, how much am I truly learning and retaining? In today's web 2.0 world especially, it's so important for me to remember that less really can be more. I need to slow down and spend more time with each text that I read.
Slow down. But what does that mean? Taking the time necessary to develop a deeper understanding of the material. OK. And what does that mean? It means focusing even more closely. Taking more notes about the BIG idea(s) and MAIN argument(s) and the most SUBSTANTIVE supporting examples... which also means underlining and highlighting less than I currently do, too. It means asking more questions. Exploring the text from different angles. Identifying what I like or don't like about it, what I agree with or disagree with. Giving myself more time to see and articulate connections between the text and what I already know. It means sitting with the text to really let it percolate. Being more deliberate about synthesizing my learning. It means balancing going broad with going deep.
Obviously, this is a new strategy for me. It's a big change; it'll require a significantly new mindset. But it'll help me learn even more than I already am with my current reading style. It'll be worth the change. Is less really more? I think it can be. And with time and practice, it definitely will be.