Reading Together




The most surprising part was that even though we started in our own paces, our paces seemed to merge into one rhythm, and as soon as the rhythm merged, it was odd that we were reading different words. So when the other person stopped for a pause and I was still reading, I felt like I also needed to take a pause. Also, the sound of someone reading was intervening with my comprehension of the words I was reading, so it seemed to get jumbled up, in terms of retrieving information, until that last moment when we read that same word.

At first I totally focused on saying the words correctly and did not pay any attention to what Jay [my partner] was saying. Halfway through I began listening to her and noticing when we spoke together, or not. It was especially interesting when we’d say words in a similar rhythm, like the ones that are repeated. Also fun to hear which two words were juxtaposed.

I enjoyed the repetition and how words would transition, too — from concentrate to concentration, for example.



I started off trying to avoid falling into the
same pace as the other reader. Every time I felt I slipped into the same pace, or that the other reader slipped into my pace, I changed my own pace a little bit. With the words themselves, I pronounced them with capitalization and punctuation differently. Words that weren’t repeated sometimes seemed like they were forming sentences, and sometimes my mind tried to create sentences from them. There were a couple of places where phrases seemed to stand out, such as “over” and “out.” With the repeated words, I tried to count them with just my eyes, but eventually I felt like I might miss some if I didn’t follow the words with my finger. I think the start and the end were the two places where I was most conscious of the other reader. There was an odd sense of excitement when reading the meeting point that I couldn’t understand.

It felt robotic and I found there were times that both of us were following the same rhythm. To avoid the robotic feel I consciously tried not to follow t he rhythm, though it naturally tended towards it.

It took longer to repeat one word over several times rather than saying several words next to each other. For example, even a short word like “is” was a strain to say. Repeating words also created a natural rhythm.

I was more focused on reading out the words than on comprehending what I was reading.



I tried to follow the grammar structure, but it didn’t really last for very long. As a reader and writer, I am very conscious of grammar and punctuation, so it was very startling to read from right to left with the punctuation appearing first. I also had to focus very hard on making sure I said the correct amount of repeated words.

I felt reacher strange. The repetition of the words was somehow able to break down individual words into their constituent syllables, allowing the word to lose its meaning and audio relationship.



I found it hard to know what was a fair tone
of voice.

Easier reading backwards than I thought.


Easier when covering one ear.


- feel out of breath

- so confusing

- but totally fun



I found that we eventually found a common rhythm in reading. It became a meditative experience. Even though we weren't stopping to think about the meaning of the text, I felt that my partner’s words somehow provide context to mine, in a peripheral and/or subconscious kind of way (like how smell & touch & other senses inform a moment of experience).

My initial thought was of the scene in Lady and the Tramp, when the two eat spaghetti and meet in the middle…I was distracted by tying to read the top line, or trying to find meaning in the text, but eventually I went into “performance mode” and tried to read and think critically about what I was reading, or if it had any meaning. It was odd hearing an “echo” that wasn’t quite the same as what I was reading.



I found myself wondering why I fell into a certain rhythm and was trying to decide if I should consciously break that rhythm. I also was unsure of whether the punctuation and capitalization should influence my pronunciation.

A very amusing experience to keep repeating the same words over and over again. I felt that both of us were reading it in the same rhythm, which was kind of interesting.