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The Art of Slow Reading: Six Time-Honored Practices for Engagement [Paperback]

by Thomas Newkirk
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 4, 2011 0325037310 978-0325037318 9 - 17 years

"Tom Newkirk's call to appreciate the value of slow reading is both timely and important, especially in an era where skimming and click-and-go reading have become the norm for our students. Newkirk reminds us that our deepest reading pleasures are often found when we slow down and pay close attention, and this book clearly demonstrates how slow reading deepens the thinking of both teachers and students. A must-read for anyone concerned about the state of reading-you will enjoy reading The Art of Slow Reading slowly."

-Kelly Gallagher, author of Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It

"This beautiful and hugely important book overflows with advice and wisdom about reading-enjoying it, teaching it. Newkirk reminds us why words matter, that words on page or screen are not there just to be 'processed,' but to savor and enjoy, to help us think and see more clearly, to touch our hearts and help us touch the world."

-Mike Rose, author of Why School?: Reclaiming Education for All of Us

(Read Mike Rose's blog)

"If someone were to ask me who to read, what to read, and how to read it, I would say, without hesitating, they should read Tom Newkirk, read The Art of Slow Reading, and read it slowly, again and again. He is to reading and teaching, literacy and learning what Michael Pollan is to food and eating. Tom Newkirk gives us permission to take our time when we read, to remember why we read, and to take from that reading not just the nutrients and knowledge but the pleasure we sought to cultivate in our students-and ourselves-in the past."

-Jim Burke, author of The English Teacher's Companion and What's the Big Idea?


"This book challenges popular notions of reading-the idea that quick, extractive reading is the goal for students. I argue that traditional acts of 'slow reading'-memorization, performance, annotation, and elaboration-are essential for deep, pleasurable, thoughtful reading."

-Thomas Newkirk


This important book rests on a simple but powerful belief-that good readers practice the art of paying attention. Building on memoir, research, and many examples of classroom practice, Thomas Newkirk, recuperates six time-honored practices of reading-performance, memorization, centering, problem-finding, reading like a writer, and elaboration-to help readers engage in thoughtful, attentive reading.

The Art of Slow Reading provides preservice and inservice teachers with concrete practices that for millennia have promoted real depth in reading. It will show how these practices enhance the reading of a variety of texts, from Fantastic Mr. Fox to The Great Gatsby to letters from the IRS.

Just as slow reading is essential for real comprehension, it is also clearly crucial to the deep pleasure we take in reading-for the way we savor texts-and for the power of reading to change us.


Tom's Washington Post article: Reading is not a race: The virtues of the 'slow reading' movement


Frequently Bought Together

The Art of Slow Reading: Six Time-Honored Practices for Engagement + Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading + Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts--and Life
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas Newkirk's most recent books with Heinemann are The Art of Slow Reading (2011), Holding Onto Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones (2009) and Teaching the Neglected "R" (2007, coedited with Richard Kent). His Misreading Masculinity (2004) was cited by Instructor Magazine as one of the most significant books for teachers in the past decade. A former teacher of at-risk high school students in Boston, Tom is Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, the former director of its freshman English program, and the director and founder of its New Hampshire Literacy Institutes. He has studied literacy learning at a variety of educational levels - from preschool to college. His other Heinemann and Boynton/Cook titles include the NCTE David H. Russell Award winning Performance of Self in Student Writing (Boynton/Cook, 1997), Taking Stock: The Writing Process Movement in the 90s (Boynton/Cook, 1994, coedited with Lad Tobin), and Nuts & Bolts: A Practical Guide to Teaching College Composition (Boynton/Cook, 1993). In addition, Tom is coeditor (with Penny Kittle) of Children Want to Write, which is a collection of Donald Graves' most significant writings paired with recovered videotapes that illuminate his research and his inspiring work with children and teachers, and coeditor (with Lisa Miller) of The Essential Don Murray, which gathers the most important insights about writing and teaching writing from "America's Greatest Writing Teacher." Thomas Newkirk has been named the 2010 recipient of the Gary Lindberg Award for his outstanding contributions as a faculty member of the University of New Hampshire. Read the Award Announcement »

Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 17 years
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (November 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0325037310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0325037318
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a thought provoking collage of wisdom January 18, 2012
By nedd
Format:Paperback
I think the title (The Art of Slow Reading) was chosen to first and foremost attract those who identify as slow readers. When I would show this book to friends and family, they often took the title too literally and would read it back to me in that deep slow motion drone, kind of laughing, like the concept was elementary. The word SLOW could be replaced with: enjoying, deep, engaged, or falling in love with.
Growing up I was always the last kid in class to finish the reading assignment. It still takes me an hour to read as little as 10 pages of certain books. Not because I have trouble reading the words or understating the vocab, I just daydream (or digress) a lot when I read. In the past I always viewed my reading speed as a problem, even a disability. I would get extremely frustrated, which exacerbated the issue. After reading TAOSR, I now look at my speed in an entirely different way.
Newkirk writes, "To write in a direct, linear fashion is to be oblivious to the distractive possibilities and pleasures of living, it is to go about in blinders. It is to be without 'spirit'. Reading can also embody this digressive spirit and merge into writing . The text can activate digression, meditation, reflection."
Did you hear that?? Digressions are pleasurable. Digressions are meditations. Instead of letting digressions frustrate me, I enjoy them and feel more in control of them.
This book is filled with sentences and sections that you could digress about for hours. It is amazing how Newkirk was able to weave various experiences, excerpts, and pieces of great knowledge into one coherent message. I felt like I had just taken a mini literature course when I finished.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's a Baby in That Bathwater! December 31, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You might expect a book called THE ART OF SLOW READING to "lean Luddite," so to speak, but not really. In fact, toward the end of his book, Tom Newkirk defends the younger generation and opines that dismissing the social changes brought about by all of their techno-treats is more counterproductive than not.

By then, his point has been made -- he's not out to condemn our fast-moving times so much as to argue for the baby (the value of slow reading) in the bathwater. Why, then, are some in a hurry to throw it all out as if its day is done? Newkirk writes: "As Deborah Brandt has wisely argued in her book LITERACY IN AMERICAN LIVES...social change rarely involves the wholesale discarding of older skills; rather the process is additive. The student who creates a digital story must learn new skills involving the integration of music, narration, visuals; she must explore visual means of transition. But she also must tell a story, using detail, dialogue; she must create characters, conflict -- skills as old as storytelling itself."

Thus the need for salvaging some of these tried and true practices. Newkirk divides these by chapter: Reading Goes Silent (Performing); Learning by Heart (Memorizing); Making a Mark (Centering); The Pleasures of Difficulty (Problem Finding); A Writer's Choice (Reading Like a Writer); and Opening a Text (Elaborating). Some of these chapters are stronger than others, especially if "strength" be judged through the addition of practical ideas for the classroom. That is, like his last book HOLDING ON TO GOOD IDEAS IN A TIME OF BAD ONES, this text dwells more in theory than practical ideas, though ideas are here to be found as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Marsha
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Love this author- he never disappoints. Great book for those trying to understand the benefits to reading slower yet deeper.
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