Misconceptions of “slow” readers

Kids tell me all the time that they’re slow readers.  Often, they’ve concluded that they’re slow because their friends finish books faster than they do.  Some of these kids actually do read more slowly than their friends (though in order to really know, they’d have to all be reading the same books under the same circumstances, which would be tricky to orchestrate).  But often, these kids just don’t spend as much time reading as their friends do, so they don’t get through as many books. It’s actually an error in their interpretation of the data they’re collecting.

I’ve also often heard kids say “I’m a slow reader except when I’m reading something I like.”  They actually think of it this way! In their worlds, the fact of the matter is slowness.  Faster reading is an exception that occurs with material they want to read.  How does this happen?  Why, I wonder, wouldn’t they tell me they read pretty quickly, except when they’re reading something they don’t want to read?