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How The World Reads

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How The World Reads

Despite the emergence of audio books and podcasts as alternatives to the normal printed books, reading proves to be an important facet of learning and conveying messages among humans.

In fact, UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) revealed that the global youth literacy rate rose to 90% in 2011 (census decades 2005-2015) from 87% in 2000 (census decades 1995-2004) and 83% in 1990 (census decades 1985-1994).

Apart from this, there’s so much more to discover when it comes to reading such as how people from different parts of the world read, as well as the reasons they do such activity.

How We Read

There are three types of vision ranges namely fovea (the area at the centre of the retina), parafovea (expands up to 5 degrees on either side of fixation), and periphery (which is basically everything else).

The main differences of the vision ranges are in its functions such that fovea is critical for reading and can pick up details well, while the periphery, though unclear and not that detailed, can pick up colour and movement. Lastly, the fovea is the vision range that helps people understand everything they read clearly.

We also use our working memory when reading. Research states that our working memory manages four distinct “chunks” at a time—a chunk being a bundle of information connected through some meaning.

Chunks are smaller for new or difficult material. Generally, your brain can only handle so much in a certain period, which means reading too fast leads to minimal comprehension. Pauses for comprehension take about 300 to 500 milliseconds on average.

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