By Stephen Krashen, Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Southern California
I think skipping [words when reading] is a good way to increase one’s vocabulary.
1. The more you skip, the more you read, and the more you can acquire. Of course if you have to skip too many words and the text makes no sense without them, the text is too hard.
2. If you stop to notice, you won’t be focused on the meaning, and you won’t acquire much.
Once again, the acquisition/learning distinction is helpful. Acquisition is subconscious, while it is happening you don’t know it is happening, and once it has occurred you are not always aware of it. Readers get meanings and partial meanings of many words and they are not aware this is happening.
Learning is very concrete, when it happens we know it happens. But it is not very efficient.
Another problem: For people like us, professionals in language who are interested in language per se, it can be very satisfying and pleasurable. We like the feeling of learning a rule and we feel pleasure when we can actually use the rule. But normal people get their pleasures elsewhere.