"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Thursday, May 13, 2010


[continued from the Last Post]

While 'reading on the lines' leads to literal-level comprehension, 'reading between the lines' leads to interpretative-level comprehension, whereby the reader needs to think, analyse & search for answers in the reading material.

Unlike literal-level comprehension, where the meaning is found directly in the reading material, i.e. a reader can literally put a finger in the reading & point to the answer, interpretative-level comprehension requires a little bit more intellectual effort, plus more careful reading.

The reader has to search for clues, textual as well as contextual, within the reading material to locate the answer.

That's to say, the answer cannot be found directly in the reading material. The answer is hidden somewhat "between the lines", so to speak.

In more explicit terms, the reader has to interpret what is implied or meant, rather than what is actually stated in the reading material.

Tactically, the reader will be:

- making sense of & seeing relationships among ideas;
- drawing inferences;
- making logical leaps & educated guesses;
- making generalisations;
- predicting outcomes;
- tapping into his or her prior knoweldge or past experiences;
- attaching new learning to old information;
- summarising key ideas not explicitly stated;
- selecting conclusions by gathering evidence to support the inference or deduction;

To me, to be able to do 'reading between the lines', the reader also has to attain a reasonably good command of the English Language, as he is expected to understand the figurative as well as connotative meaning of words, besides the denotative meaning.

In terms of reading material, reading literature or literary works requires a lot of 'reading between the lines'.

This is not to say that other forms of writings do not require 'reading between the lines'.

In any form of writing, one should always be aware of figurative language, connotation, nuances, imagery, symbolism, irony & satire within the reading material.

I suggest the following approach, from the standpoint of generating insights:

Think about the reading material in 3 ways:

1) Consider the text itself, the author, & the basic information given right there on the page;

2) Next, think about what is "between the lines", the conclusions & inferences the author wants you to draw from the page;

3) Finally go beyond thinking about the page. What new & different ideas come into your mind when you combine your prior knowledge & past experiences with the perceived ideas off the page?

Incidentally, 'reading between the lines' can also be applied in another situational context: while conversing with some one, or listening to a speech or presentation.

In this case, one looks out for the body language of the speaker, hand gestures, eye balls; also, listen to his or her tonality of voice, choice of words, equivocative expressions, inconsistencies, etc.

Naturally, this calls for a 'gut' check. For me, if something doesn't feel right from the speaker, then it probably is.

I like to call this phenomenon: 'reading the signals'.

[to be continued in the Next Post]

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