Unit 2: How People Read

Senior Project Pre-Production

In this unit, our author, Susan Weinschenk, explains how readers recognize text and process the information. Again, readers use shape recognition to recognize letters, and complete words and also anticipate what word will come next based on their previous reading experience. It has to be somewhat of a challenge to actually WRITE about READING. There’s a section in this unit about comprehension and how  a person could read an entire paragraph and not comprehend anything in it. So, context becomes a huge player when reading. this section also has a fun exercise with words that have scrambled letters. As I read it, I was no faster or slower than if the letters were in the correct order. It’s very interesting but I also recognize that the words are misspelled and I end up paying more attention them. In our modern times it fascinates me how many hashtags I can read on someones Instagram, because all the words run into each other, like:


I’m still able to read the hashtag even though there’s no space between the words and I think I have to credit shape recognition for that. It’s like reading in a word search.

Susan also informs  her readers the we read in saccades, or what I like to call “the sing-along” effect. Saccades are the quick sharp jumps our eyes make when we read.  However, there are moments of stillness in-between each saccade and those are called fixations.

Next our author illustrates the differences in typefaces, how some are easier to read than others, which seems like a no-brainer. But Susan explains why, and something that I hadn’t given much thought to before. The x-height on a letter can make that letter more readable because it appears to be larger. And typefaces such as Verdana were designed with higher heights so they appear larger. This is really good to know for the future when I might be dealing with a lot of body copy for something.


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