I’m A Slow And Unreliable Reader, But I Will Finish The Book

by Serina Gousby

I’m jealous of people who can read an entire book in one day, in one week, or in one month. My mind has never allowed me to sit and focus on pages for a long period of time without a distraction, and for that, I struggle so hard because what’s a writer who can’t finish reading a book?

It’s not that I can’t finish, but it took me a while to even start. When I was really young, before or during kindergarten, I had to take extra classes at home with a teacher because I had difficulty in learning. My mother never confirmed me if I had a learning disability, but I knew I was different because I didn’t catch on certain lessons as fast as other kids did. Plus, I am a premature baby, born 3 months prior to my scheduled due date, so maybe that affected my learning skills.

It basically feels like I have a two-minute delay in my brain when I receive an incredible amount of information at once, and if it is given to me as fast as Looney Tunes’ Road Runner, I’m left simply clueless. With reading, it has to be an interesting story or beneficial information, or else it’s going to be a really tough read.

I believe that the teacher helped me because I was very smart all through elementary and high school, with help from tutors and after school assistance. However, I did struggle a lot in college because I was an English Major and History Minor and I have no idea how I survived that. Every semester in each of my four years I had an average of 200+ pages to read every week, 4 classes combined. I didn’t know what to do sometimes because I was smart enough to figure it all out, but I had no proof to show professors that I don’t take in and retain information like regular people. Because of that, I failed some tests, quizzes, felt discouraged to even read at all and relied on critical thinking and silence if I wasn’t prepared. If I wasn’t so afraid and prideful to tell my professors these struggles, maybe some of them would have reduced the number of pages I had to read every week.

Bottom line, I wish I didn’t have to struggle.

Now that I graduated from college and I’m not forced to read books at a rapid pace, I have the luxury of reading whatever I want and by whoever I want, in endless time. I have a lot of time between work and sleep to read, so it should be a piece of cake right? Not exactly, it’s an ongoing process. My first step after graduation was to create a small library in my room. Two years ago, I only owned about 10-15 books. I now have close to 100 books, or maybe more than that. The majority of them are written by African-American writers, poets, and historians. I look for books with stories that I can relate to, and information that will help me understand my value as a woman, a writer, and an African-American.

I believe this is the way to not only prepare for graduate school in the future, but to improve my reading so I can fight through my struggles. A few months ago, I tried to force myself to read 6-9 books in a month, and that was an epic fail. I realized that I have to accept that I am a slow reader and I will probably not finish at the time that I want to, but the goal is to just…finish. I can’t be a writer if I don’t read, but I can’t be a great person if I don’t accept myself.

If you are going through similar struggles with reading, try your best and tell someone what your struggles are. Don’t let your pride and sadness keep you from enjoying a good book.

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6 years ago

I like this. I am also a slow reader. I have learned that often our flaws or what we see as flaws are strengths. I’m a slow reader because I can take a tiny bit of information and get so much out of it making me a better writer. The primary goal I feel is to gain understanding of what you read. I feel like some people read fast just to say that they read something fast.

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