Slow reading: New trend to increase attention span, intelligence

Average attention span of a human being has dropped 33 percent in the last decade


The holiday season; it's a whirlwind of places to go, things to buy, people to see, but maybe it's time to down a bit or at least in one aspect of your life.

And this story may even help you make a new year's resolution.

New research shows we're reading too fast and we're losing brain function, but there's a movement to change that.

All day, we rush through and surf the internet or scan work documents and if we finally sit down to read a book, we pride ourselves on finishing as fast as possible.

In fact, the National Center for Biotechnology Information says the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. That's a 33 percent drop and less than the attention span of a goldfish.

Professors Thomas Newkirk and David Mikics are so disturbed by our short attention spans, they both wrote books on a practice called 'slow reading.'

"What slow reading is is the deliberate practice of trying to get back to that kind of experience that you had as a kid, where you just feel completely absorbed by the literary work," said Mikics. "It's not necessarily just about reading slowly, it's about having a relationship with what you're reading; you feel a connection to an author."

Some consider it a movement, with a growing number of groups from Italy to the United States.

People read and discuss like a book club, only slower.

There is research to show proven benefits in terms comprehension and retention, especially for students.

So how do we slow down? To retrain your brain Mikics suggests be patient as it will take time for your brain to slow down, re-read passages and pages when necessary, use a dictionary to look up words you don't know and think about why specific language is used.

The discipline it takes to slow read can be challenging at first, but it's very rewarding say slow reading advocates.

Some groups are not only slow, but also silent here you just read in peace. Others offer discussion, something the students we talked to believe is an added benefit.

To get connected with a slow reading group click here.