Reading - the first few seconds

I handed out a poem and after 10 seconds asked them to turn the page over and say what had passed through their mind in that time. I also asked them what they could remember about the piece. Did they read the title? Did they look at the author's name? One person had started at the title and was halfway through the piece when I interrupted. Another did more or less what I do: a 2 second skim to take in the length, form and nature of vocabulary, then (depending on my mood, and the form of the poem) reading through from the top, or looking at random stanzas and the final stanza before attempting a full read.

Two issues to point out are that

See also Reader response theory (from the Voice of the Shuttle).

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Tim Love, August 1999 (from an idea suggested by Helena Nelson).