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Monday, 10 July 2017


Reading aloud was the more common practice in antiquity and Saint Augustine remarked that reading silently was unusual in his late 4th century AD work Confessions. The North African bishop commented on Saint Ambrose's unusual habit of reading without speaking.

Miss Auras, by John Lavery, depicts a woman reading a book

Before the Industrial Revolution, in most societies only a small percentage of the population was considered literate. There were a few exceptions where there were generally high literacy rates including classical Athens and the Islamic Caliphate.

During most of the Middle Ages, few people, including kings and emperors, were able to read or write. The clergy were the only ones with these skills.

In 1642, Puritan parents in the Massachusetts Bay Colony had their children taken away from them if they failed to teach them how to read.

Silent reading is actually a recent phenomenon. Only the most skilled readers of the Middle Ages could read silently.

In the 18th century many prominent voices were concerned by an 'epidemic' affecting young people whereby they were spending too much time reading books. It was diagnosed as 'a dangerous disease' called 'reading rage, reading fever, reading mania or reading lust.' What was actually happening was a new phenomenon, the 'love of reading’, due mainly to the growing popularity of a new literary genre: the novel.

John Colby, the brother in law of Daniel Webster, learned to read when he was 84 so that he might read the Bible.

Kim Peek (November 11, 1951 – December 19, 2009) was an American savant. who was the inspiration for the autistic savant character Raymond Babbitt in the movie Rain Man. He could read the both pages of an open book at once, one page with one eye and the other page with the other eye.

The Rocket eBook was the first commercial e-reader. Produced by NuvoMedia in late 1998; it used a LCD screen and could store up to ten e-books.  The Rocket eBook had a retail price of $499.

Several other e-readers were introduced in the late 1990s, but did not gain widespread acceptance. They on;y took off with the introduction of  the Amazon Kindle, a device which, upon its release in 2007, sold out within five and a half hours.

By Lars Curfs, 

People generally read 25% slower on a computer screen in comparison with a printed page, according to a study.

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