5 Benefits of Silent Reading (Explained!)
“Reading in the mind,” or silent reading, lets you discover your passion for reading, challenge your thoughts, and improve your brain’s processing.
Silent reading helps you train your mind and read a text without audible sounds. It’s a valuable skill you can use to unwind after a long day to improve your comprehension, focus, and reading speed. You can improve your silent reading skills through techniques like subvocalization and pointers.
Even though reading silently may seem simple, it helps challenge your brain and improve its well-being in several ways. Especially if you’re looking for something to calm you after a long day, independent reading is a helpful practice to implement.
Moreover, it also helps speed up your cognitive function, rekindle your love for reading, and helps you develop it as a healthy habit.
This post will let you uncover the advantages of reading silently and how it can prove valuable for you. We’ll also compare it to reading loudly and also talk about some of its shortcomings.
What is silent reading?
Silent reading is like the Jedi mind trick of literature. It’s like reconnecting to a forgotten world and making sense of the text as you read it. Not only that, but it’s also a more socially acceptable way to connect with the text and finish our favorite book.
Imagine reading your favorite novel on a bus. You’re surrounded by people and wouldn’t want to disturb them with your loud reading. Silent reading allows you to enjoy your novel without worrying about the person beside you.
Silent reading means no noise. Practicing the skills help you read faster (around 300 words per minute for an average person) and allows you to connect with the text. It’s also a great skill to improve your cognition and understanding.
As adults, we read for pleasure. You unconsciously develop the art of reading silently because you wouldn’t want to disturb those around you. It helps to play around with your imagination and visualize the text more easily.
A common phenomenon often associated with silent reading is subvocalization. Subvocalization lets you hear sounds internally, which comes in handy when practicing independent silent reading. Though it may hinder your reading speed, subvocalization is a useful habit for improving comprehension and reinforcing learning.
You can also check out the Maximizing Memory course from Iris Reading which lets you retain more information and comprehend small details.
Is silent reading faster than oral reading?
Silent reading is like a lowkey cheetah capable of moving swiftly through a page’s dense jungle of words. It’s the key to unlocking the world of knowledge and imagination.
On the other hand, we have oral reading that acts like a majestic lion with its captivating sound and commanding attention. It lets you breathe life into the text and infuse it with emotion and expression. Even though it can’t move as quickly as reading quietly, reading aloud lets you make a memorable impact through the text.
Silent reading is internal. You don’t have to use any vocal cords or incorporate lip movement, which is why independent silent reading is also known as reading for pleasure.
Silent reading is generally faster compared to reading aloud. You wouldn’t have to vocalize the words. Studies have also shown that an average person can read 250-300 words per minute through this technique, while the oral reading rate is about 150-160 words per minute.
Reading aloud also aids with improving reading fluency and helps perfect your intonation, expression, and rhythm. Reading silently, on the other hand, improves fluency and focuses on speed and accuracy instead of expressing emotions or maintaining rhythm.
Main benefits of reading silently
Even though the ability to read silently comes naturally, it lets you unlock a new world of possibilities. You can dive into the text and swim through different words as your imagination grows. All this helps to improve your cognitive ability too.
Keeping aside quiet reading time may seem like a pleasurable habit you connect with at the end of the day, but it also has many underlying benefits. We’ll be discussing these benefits in this section.
1. It is more effective
What good is reading anything if it’s not effective, right? You’d want to ensure that anything you read impacts your mind and that you can understand it. That’s how reading silently helps you.
It doesn’t require using vocal cords or worrying about saying the words with thrust or pronouncing them correctly. It lets you read words any way you want to, which proves to be a more effective way that helps you build momentum and grasp important information.
2. Improves understanding
If you’ve started a book or an article with difficult words, sustained silent reading can help. It helps you focus on what is written in the text instead of worrying about the correct pronunciation of words.
Keeping aside reading time for yourself also helps improve your reading comprehension in countless ways. For instance, during reading loudly, you’ll be primarily focused on you’re telling the story. You’ll want your voice to convey the characters’ emotions and breathe life into the story.
Thus, understanding the story is not what you’ll be worrying about. Reading in your mind helps evade that responsibility and encourages you to read in any way you want.
3. Increases reading speed
A lot of us rush to finish a good book. You’d want to reach the perfect ending you anticipate or find out what happens as soon as possible. So, that’s where reading silently can help you.
It lets you connect to the characters and go through the story fast. You can easily glide through the story like a skilled navigator and quickly cover a lot of text.
We also offer a speed reading tool that helps you go through text faster without compromising on effectiveness.
4. Provides deeper insights
If you’re reading loudly in a public space, not only will it disturb others, but you’ll also lose focus on the story and skip on great insights. That’ll make you turn pages and review the story again to understand the backstory.
Having independent reading time comes to the rescue again here. It’s like a skill you can utilize to peer into the crystal ball of your text and decipher the hidden insights. That helps you focus solely on what the text discusses without running through the pages repeatedly.
Even if you’re reading something technical, reading silently will help you grasp the meaning of technical terms. You can even stop to take notes to understand the information accurately.
5. Helps avoid distractions
Getting distracted by your voice is more common than we think. The effort you put in during reading aloud can be really distracting.
On the other hand, silent reading helps create an inclusive atmosphere for only you and the text you’re reading. So you can fully enjoy yourself without having to worry about anything else.
What are the shortcomings of silent reading?
All great things have a dark side. Independent reading is a tranquil way to spend your time, but it does have some shortcomings.
Let’s find out what these are and what you can do to limit them.
Lack of social interaction
Independent silent reading transports you to another world. While this may seem like a great idea to focus solely on the text, it can also be a lonely experience. So, it’s best to balance and take breaks when you feel you haven’t connected with anyone in a while.
Reduced memory retention
Sustained silent reading holds in memory for a short time. Thus, there are better strategies to implement if you have text to remember or want to retain information in your long-term memory. Reading out loud engages your senses which helps you retain more information.
Limits your expressions
If you like the idea of storytelling or just listening to the sound of your voice, then silent reading may not be a great hobby for you.
That’s because when you read aloud, you can experiment with your tone, inflexion and emphasize the text. Silent reading lacks all these aspects, making it one of its disadvantages.
Why should silent reading be practiced in classrooms?
Imagine you walk into your classroom, and your students are silently engrossed in their books. You can hear the pages as your students turn them while intently scanning the pages for information. But why is this so important?
There is a strong correlation between reading levels and the amount of time spent reading. That means the more kids read, the better their reading skills will be. Students can engage with texts independently, take notes, and learn.
Instilling the habit of independent reading encourages students to start reading any text they’re given. It doesn’t matter whether the text is online or a physical book. They’ll have no problem reading it.
Thus, it should be encouraged in the classroom to limit peer interactions, reflect on the student’s imagination, and limit distractions from outside.
How sustained silent reading programs help students re-engage
Sustained silent reading, also known as DEAR (Drop Everything and Read), is a powerful arsenal in a reader’s bag, but how does it compare to oral reading?
Students always need a little push for everything, especially when it comes to improving their focus. Reading silently is an art that helps you set the right momentum for students and re-engage them with classroom activities through independent reading.
Many teachers seem to underestimate the power of silent reading time.
Encouraging students to read without any reading instruction helps them deal with challenging texts effectively without any outside help. It also promotes a habit of independent reading that proves to be vital in later stages of life.
We’ll expand on how independent reading can benefit you as a teacher in the next section.
You can check out our Personal Productivity course promotes focus and productivity and could aid with sustained silent reading programs in the classroom.
Independent reading time vs. silent reading time
Silent reading, or sustained silent reading, is exactly what it sounds like. There are no outside distractions.
Each book exposes students to new ideas, thoughts, new vocabulary, perceptions, and so much more.
Thus, introducing sustained silent reading programs lets students pick a book of their choice without direct instruction in the classroom.
In contrast, independent reading is a planned block of reading time. You can give your students some instructions on what to read and encourage them to discuss ideas after the time ends.
Takeaway: How silent reading transforms your mind and life
Many of us develop hobbies that let us disconnect from the world and let go of our stress for a while. Independent silent reading is an excellent way to do just that. It helps deepen your understanding, focus on the little details, and let your imagination run wild.
However, it’s essential to find the right balance in everything and not let the shortcomings of silent reading overthrow the benefits.
We’ve developed Maximizing Memory course that encourages you to work on improving your cognition and improve your retention during silent reading. It’s designed for students and professionals alike to help retain more information.