In this paper, we discuss the findings of an in-depth observational study of reading and within-document navigation and add to these findings the results of a second analysis of how people read comparable digital materials on the screen, given limited navigational functionality. We chose periodicals as our initial foil since they represent a type of material that invites many different kinds of reading and strategies for navigation. Using multiple sources of evidence from the data, we first characterize readers’ navigation strategies and specific practices as they make their way through the magazines. We then focus on two observed phenomena that occur when people read paper magazines, but are absent in their digital equivalents: the lightweight navigation that readers use unselfconsciously when they are reading a particular article and the approximate navigation readers engage in when they flip multiple pages at a time. Because page-turning is so basic and seems deceptively simple, we dissect the turn of a page, and use it to illustrate the importance and invisibility of lightweight navigation. Finally, we explore the significance of our results for navigational interfaces to digital library materials.