Word-Of-the-Week #768: Comprehension

April 25, 2019 by  

Comprehensionthe ability to grasp and understand what is read. 

How good are you at reading and grasping the meaning of it? Do you think some people have a problem fully comprehending e-mails you’ve sent? How much digital distraction do you experience on a daily basis? 

I am hoping it’s not just me, but before I send any information I make sure I have edited it at least three times. And I never send anything if I am feeling overcome by emotion. Always better to sleep on it before you send it!

I personally think we have a serious problem with comprehension. And I should add attention spans too it as well. What do you think?

“Reading comprehension is the ability to process text, understand its meaning, and to integrate with what the reader already knows.  

Attention span is the amount of concentrated time a person can spend on a task without becoming distracted. The element of distractability occurs when the individual is uncontrollably drawn to some other activity or sensation. Most educators and psychologists agree that the ability to focus and sustain attention on a task is crucial for the achievement of one’s goals.”  – Wikipedia

Skimming vs. Close ReadingWe live in a culture that rewards skimming: social media posts, content aggregators, blog posts, and more encourage us to skip quickly through content instead of spending the time and energy to read the texts closely and unpack their meaning.” – Rob Schombs

Larry Rosen and Alexandra Samuel of The Harvard Business Review had this to say about Conquering Digital Distraction. “Digital overload may be the defining problem of today’s workplace. All day and night, on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, we’re bombarded with so many messages and alerts that even when we want to focus, it’s nearly impossible. And when we’re tempted to procrastinate, diversions are only a click away. 

This culture of constant connection takes a toll both professionally and personally. We waste time, attention, and energy on relatively unimportant information and interactions, staying busy but producing little of value. As the late Clifford Nass and his colleagues at Stanford University have shown, people who regularly juggle several streams of content do not pay attention, memorize, or manage their tasks as well as those who focus on one thing at a time.” 

This week’s focus is on comprehension. Do you tend to skim and scan instead of spending the time to read it closely? How easy is it for you to focus on one thing at a time? Have you ever tried reading your communications out loud for clarity?

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