What is reading?
When I read a novel, the story is being received imaginatively. The impact of the words and the interaction with the mind, is what the reader evaluates. It is an engaging, interesting, pleasurable, story, or the reader skips a lot, looks for more from the writing, and eventually gives up on the book. The same is happening when studying, although there is more incentive to plough through the reading even if it is not interesting.
Reading is usually this imaginative interaction with a story. It is a language skill and the reader gets more than the words on a page, inferring meaning and context, even when any particular word or phrase is unfamiliar. Some people like poetry, some don’t. Some people need to know the information more precisely. Some are just reading for leisure and entertainment.
In reading there is a great deal of this interaction with the mind, more than what is on a page. The reader is more than not, overlaying their own interpretation, their own needs, and their own attitudes. They also are taking their own evaluation to be the substance of what they read, not always correctly, and then to respond using their mistaken evaluation, further distorting what is written. Yet given that we do use imagination, what is the purpose of this habit of narrowly picking on a word or phrase? Is it a review, a critique, of the writings in a book, on a page? Or is it that the reader has a preference for their own ideas, and opinions?
Probably this is all considered normal, and not worth mentioning. To bring this interaction to the readers attention is usually dismissed as irrelevant trite, and not in keeping with the appropriate reading, such as you do normally with reading a novel, or a reference book, a treatise, etc. So the question is, are you still reading a novel when you engage in serious discussion? Don’t look to the answer the question verbally. Don’t look at the words and react. Think about it. Is what is happening in the mind, and the reader overlaying their own story, comparing the words, is this not actually communing together with an open mind?