Personal development, sharp mind, expansive knowledge — reading habits genuinely do wonders in each part of our lives. However, as an avid reader, do you often struggle to remember what you read in the book after a few weeks? Well, don’t fret because it’s completely normal.
According to the University of California-San Diego, the average man encounters 34 gigabytes of information on a daily basis. It’s equivalent to over a million written words. While our brains have exceptional abilities, keeping up with all this information can still be challenging. Adding to the misery, the flow of digital information has also wrecked our capacity to remember the details.
So, is there a solution to this? Definitely! We have assembled a few tips and techniques to clear up your confusion. Read below and master the art of remembering what you read!
How Does the Memory Work?
In simple terms, we refer to memory as our ability to retain information over time. From recalling the features of your loved ones to reminiscing about all the bittersweet experiences in life, it holds the power to shape our personality as a whole. At this point, most people know how fascinating this concept is. However, only a few are aware of the science behind it.
Well. Memories form as a result of neuronal interaction in your brain. Let’s see how that works!
Whenever you encounter a stimulus, your brain experiences different patterns of neuronal activity. The interesting part? Each event triggers a specific set of neuronal connections. That means the cluster of neurons activated if you think of your pet will differ from the one when you recall your first date. This theory leaves you with a few points to consider:
- Lower activation of a neuronal group weakens the memory of that event
- Higher activation of a neuronal group strengthens the memory of that event
- This recurring phenomenon, called neuroplasticity, ultimately makes up the whole memory cycle of our brain.
How To Remember What You Read — 10 Most Beneficial Reading Tips
It’s the age of tech revolution. From old history books to dark conspiracy theories, all sorts of information is just at the distance of one click. So much so that handling the amount of data can often overwhelm your senses. You start forgetting stuff more than you can remember it. But don’t fret. We are here with a solution!
Join us as we walk you through the most beneficial reading tips you can harness to remember everything you read. Let’s get going!
1. Read Slowly
We know you can’t wait to finish your reading collection for the year. But slow down!
Specializing in reading and cognition research, Sarah Bro Trasmundi discovered something interesting. Considering the latest research, Trasmundi claims that slow reading is an excellent way of fueling your imagination. She also emphasizes that speed reading defeats the purpose, and you end up with surface knowledge. So, what does that leave you with?
While speed reading lets you conclude the stuff earlier, it won’t help you remember everything you read. However, slow reading enables you to grasp the subject with more depth. It gives you the space to extract symbols, metaphors and other rich details from the text. As a result, you form a deeper connection with the text and tend to remember it more clearly.
2. Reflect When You Read
Imagine you have finished reading a book. Now, someone asks you about the top three ideas shared by the author, and you just go… blank! Sounds like a nightmare, right? That happens if you read without reflecting on the hidden meaning or metaphors in the text. Because surface knowledge will only give you momentary satisfaction and more likely evaporate in no time.
However, if you fully immerse yourself in the story and live with the characters, things will turn out differently. The process will generate many questions in the back of your head. Why did the character react this way? What was the writer trying to preach with this dialogue? Is there any symbolism in the ending? What is the core idea of the book? And so on.
The catch? Humanity is hard-wired for emotional response. That means our brain responds faster to the emotions encountered during a read. Thus, all such musings help you connect with the text better. You start internalizing the stuff, which keeps it in your memory for longer.
3. Feed Your Curiosity
Feed your curiosity — the simple answer to someone brooding over how to remember what you read. But what does that mean?
Dr Matthias Gruber explains that curiosity prepares your mind for learning. You can start with preliminary research on the book you are about to read. It will position your brain in a state that allows it to learn or retain every piece of information. The phenomenon works like a vortex, sucking in the things you want to learn and everything else in the vicinity.
Here are a few questions you can explore to help spark the inner flame of curiosity:
- What inspired the author to write this book?
- Is any incident in the story based on real life?
- How do other readers review the content?
- What will I learn If I choose to read the book?
- Did the author address social, cultural, or religious issues through writing?
4. Discuss with Your Friends
How does it help you retain what you read? The visual of your friends conversing with each other sparks vivid mental pictures of what they said about the topic. The University of Houston shared some interesting statistics to back this claim. According to them, we remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, and 70% of what we discuss with others.
That’s because a healthy discussion about the topic does more for your memory than you think. It helps you process the information rather than simply receive it. You exchange different ideas and acquire a unique understanding of the text from many perspectives. You might also learn about the areas you missed during the read, supporting the memorisation process in return.
As a result, a stronger hold on the topic enables you to recall the contents with greater efficiency.
5. Impress, Associate, Repeat
Want to be good at remembering what you read? Here are the three simple tricks you can leverage to retain information:
First, build a strong impression of the text you are reading. One way to do this is by reading the paragraphs out loud. What’s the logic behind it? Well! Human sensitivity to retain auditory information is more effective than visual one. Hence, the text directly goes into the long-term memory section of your brain.
As you move forward, relate the text with something you already know. For instance, say you are reading about a conflict. Think back to the time when you were in a similar situation. This approach will reinforce your core beliefs and ideas. Thus gradually improving your skill to keep stuff in memory for longer durations.
Last but not least, and the most important! Repeat and revisit the information in your mind as many times as possible. Research suggests that regularly reviewing a subject enhances the neural connections associated with it. Through this routine, you can store the data in your long-term memory and make the recollection process faster.
6. Reinforce the Mental Images
Still pondering over how to remember what you read? Hold on because this technique might catch your interest.
Reading is a multi-layered phenomenon. The visual and auditory areas in the brain are at play as you read. They build up the information and relate it to the personal events in your life. This entire process contributes to forming pictures in your head. According to scientists, such mental imagery is fundamental to improving your memory.
As a good reader, you should construct mental images as you navigate the text. We have figured out the best way you can do this. Use your background experiences and connect the author’s writing to form bizarre images. This subtle change will imprint the visuals in your memory, allowing you to recall the details without much effort.
7. Highlight the Stuff (It’s Okay)
Growing up, they taught us to treat books as something holy. We conditioned ourselves to believe that even folding the corner of a page is a grave sin. But it’s high time to unlearn that narrative. Let’s say you want to remember everything you read the first time. Would it be possible without marking up the book? Absolutely not!
Make a habit of underlining the key passages and jotting down the connections. Engage yourself in an imaginary dialogue with the author. Moreover, you can take notes of the highlighted text to reinforce those ideas in your brain. This endeavor will help you retain larger chunks of knowledge by filtering the unnecessary information.
8. Maintain the Focus
Concentration and focus are the core pillars to remember every little thing you read. However, turning pages with no solid comprehension is just a waste of time. Psychologists stress that people with short attention spans should read for about 15 minutes daily. Following this, they should take a break to revisit what they have read.
In scientific terms, we refer to it as a space-learning technique. Readers who practice this repeat the content three times, followed by two breaks. The strategy helps them sift through the text with a tactical focus. The outcome? When they revisit the material, it becomes easier for the brain to reflect on that information.
9. Don’t Read More Than You Can Digest
Niklas Luhmann was one of the most important social theorists of the 20th century. He said the secret of retaining more information lies in the law of least effort. It means never forcing yourself to do anything and only accomplishing the goals if they come naturally. Quoting him:
“When I am stuck for one moment, I leave it and do something else. With this method, to work on different things simultaneously, I never encounter any mental blockage.”
That suggests something crucial. Don’t compel yourself to read even for a minute if you find the book boring at any point. Indulge in another activity, switch to another book, and return to the previous read when your brain’s rewired. It will allow you to absorb the details much faster than otherwise. Why? Because a fresh mind soaks in more informationcompared to a stuffed one.
10. Develop a Habit
Scientists in the United States conducted intriguing research a few years back. The experiment involved two groups to assess how regular reading impacts memory. One read for ninety minutes for eight weeks, and the other solved puzzles. The results showed that reading shares a correlation with episodic and working memory.
But how is it linked to retaining what you need? Let’s dig a little deeper!
- Episodic memory lets you keep older information, such as past affairs.
- Working memory allows you to retain recent incidents like the previous day.
That means avid readers can take advantage. But how? Your brain is multitasking while you read. The strategy helps you remember the sequence of events or recent paragraphs in a vivid manner. Thus, you tend to remember the details you would have forgotten otherwise.
The Bottom Line
Clear about how to remember what you read? Here’s another point to consider. As we discussed, regular reading is central to improving your memory. However, choosing the right books goes a long way in nurturing your reading habits.
We say Sprout is the right choice for sparking your life-long love affair with reading. It’s a captivating story of a young boy who embarks on a thrilling adventure. Throughout his journey, he goes through many ebbs and flows yet to encounter challenges with an open heart. Moreover, he discovers the power of wisdom, truthfulness, and honesty on his way through life.
With a gripping storyline and rich graphics, the author grabs your attention at every point. The action-packed and dreamy content in the book never fails to strike the chords in your heart. So, what’s the wait for? Shake a leg and visit our website now to place your order. You can also buy your copy of Sprout from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
How to remember what you read? Read the 10 most beneficial tips you can harness to refine your memory!