Robert Berman '62
As soon as you enter the Developmental Reading Room, you immediately see some desks. Then, as you look around to the right, you see the reading machines. There are five of them, each covered with a plastic cover.
The first time I used it, I took the covering off and discovered a long, upside-down T and a round piece of white cardboard. To the right, I saw a knob with graduated numbers on it. I was told to turn the knob to zero. Then I was told to find out how many words per centimeter there were in my [reading] book. When I found out, I took the white cardboard and set it with the number of words showing. Next I found a corresponding number and turned the knob from zero to it. I pushed up the T, placed the book on the surface and put the T on the top of the page. Now the machine was ready.
I flipped the switch and the T started coming down the page. I soon found out that if I did not read fast enough, the T would come down and block my vision.
This is the main purpose of the reading machine. It forces you to keep your attention on the book and nothing else. It also forces you to read fast so it will speed your rate of reading.
I may say that that is certainly the case with me.
Written when Robert was in Form II, this story appeared in The Rectory News, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 1, February 15, 1962.
Image: Rectory Archives, 1960s