Skimming v Reading

January 03, 2004

I got through graduate classwork by reminding myself that "skim has the same number of letters as read." In other words, I adopted a philosophy that had been explained to me by my undergraduate advisor during the first week of freshman year: You can never do all the work. Part of college is figuring out what work you have to do and what work you can skip.

Let me give an example. I got tired of reading America's God which I have been nibbling on for months and reading a chapter at a time for weeks. So, this morning I gutted it - read the sections about the people I write about, skimmed through chapters, read beginnings and endings, and made it to the end. Gutting gives a less deep appreciation of the argument, but it also got the book off my desk so I could write.

I am thinking about this because, after looking over the syllabi I was working on yesterday, I seem to be assuming that my students also know that they can not do all the work. They don't know that, or at least many of the students at Urban Research University did not know that. I need to remind myself to mention it on the first day of class at Suburban State in a couple of weeks.

And so to write.

Posted by Red Ted at January 3, 2004 09:55 AM | TrackBack