How to Remember More of What You Read & Improve Your Memorization Skills

Whether you are a student or looking for self-improvement, it can be challenging if you struggle to remember what you have already read. Remembering more of what you have read can be important for keeping well informed on current events, researching interests on the internet or even reading fiction and non-fiction books.

Students in particular are increasingly looking for additional ways to improve their memory and absorb more of what they are reading. This is primarily due to a number of schools and colleges looking to ban laptops and digital devices within lessons and lectures. This is increasing the pressure on students of many age groups to read and comprehend any new information in a fast manner in order to keep up with the lessons. Since many people including children have become increasingly reliant on technological devices, a need for memory improvement skills has been highlighted.

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Speed Reading

Speed Reading is one of the best potential solutions for this scenario. Research has shown that speed reading can actually improve comprehension and help you to remember more of what you have read. There are a number of techniques of speed reading which can be easily adopted to improve your reading skills and comprehension. Many experts believe that speed reading allows the reader to utilize different areas of the brain, avoiding internally speaking the words, which can increase speed and allow the brain to focus on remembering the details.

There are also a number of additional techniques which can help improve your absorption of written materials. These include:

Know the Purpose of Reading

Everyone has a purpose when reading. It is important to think about whether you are able to fulfill this purpose when you are actually reading. In most cases you may be reading simply for the pleasure of it or to pass the time. However, if you are reading for another reason, then you may have to give it a little more thought.  If you’ve had reading material assigned to you, then you should be asking, what you should learn from the material. If this guidance is not available, you will need to formulate a best guess as to what you need to remember.

Skimming

Some reading assignments will only require you to skim the passage. Proper skimming techniques emphasize headings, tables, key paragraphs and pictures. This can even be of benefit for materials which require more in-depth study. These techniques prime your memory to make it easier for details to be recollected when you read it again, helps to locate the important content within the document and creates a sense of the overall material which can aid the memory.

Many find web content is easy to skim, since the format is optimally designed with bulleted lists, text boxes and graphics to facilitate skimming. However, this format can make it difficult to read more in-depth content, and so frequent web users may develop bad reading habits.

Concentrate on the Mechanics

In depth reading requires certain disciplined mechanics of eye movement. When you need to carefully read and remember details from a large block of text, your eyes must follow the line of text, fixing on several words at a time rather than single letters or particular words.

Many people, who struggle with reading, actually tend to have a lower rate of comprehension because they are preoccupied with recognizing characters and individual words.  This does not allow the reader to think about the meaning of the words as they are being read.

Take Notes

Another key to remembering more of what you are reading is to take notes. Highlighting particular points in the text can be effective, but care should be taken not to highlight the wrong points or too much text. It can be more effective to limit the highlighting to a few key words on each page.  If the reading material is a whole book sticking tabs on particular pages can also speed up the studying process.

Words should be highlighted only when you have considered why it is of importance and how it fits within the material. It is also worth pausing after every few pages to check that the important details have been remembered. These details can be transferred onto notes for review later.

Create Mental Pictures

Pictures can be easier to remember than actual words. It can help you to remember salient information by creating a mental picture for key words and concepts.  These images can be strung together to create a full story which will allow your memory to be prompted and fill in the blanks.

Tailor Your Reading to You

Attention is a key component of memorizing anything. Trying to read and learn when you are unable to concentrate will prove futile. Attention spans can vary in different people and if yours is short, try to avoid reading dense material for longer than fifteen minutes in one session.

Take frequent breaks from reading to quiz yourself on the details of what you have just read. Like any exercise, the more you spend time reading, the longer you will be able to discipline your attention span to allow you to concentrate for increasingly longer periods of time.

Repetition is Your Friend

The importance of repetition should also not be overlooked in regards to improving your memory. Repetition is one of the primary foundations of memorization. People generally require hearing details twenty times in order to fully commit it to memory.  This strategy is appropriate for children and adults alike, as the more you complete an activity or task, the easier it is to recollect.

As you repeat tasks or lessons, you allow your brain to create new connections or synapses to the cells of your brain. This allows you to transition information from your short term memory into your long term memory and makes it easier for you to recall the information as and when you need it.

Repetition allows you to reinforce lessons within your brain and once this specific memory is in place, you will be able to recall the details even if you don’t use frequently or for many years. In fact the more times you repeat details, the better you will be able to recall them.

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Many lessons learned as children can provide the foundation for other lessons including improving memory. Repetition was essential to learn our basic skills and knowledge.  Remember, if you had trouble spelling a particular word, your teacher would write it down and encourage you to keep going over the word until you had it right.

Names, faces and numbers are easier to remember when you have repeated them. Experts recommend repeating a name back to someone when you have been introduced, in order to better recall it later. This helps to reinforce the name and face of the person and allow you to repeat it until it has been committed to your memory.

Use Efficient Techniques of Taking Notes

Writing details down is also a great tool for improving memory. Make notes as you read or write down particular things you need to remember. This will also provide a visual cue for repetition.  Written words can engage more of your senses and improve the capacity of your memory.

Mind mapping is a popular tool for idea flow and prompting memory.  They allow you to lay out the components of a topic and form a distinct shape which can be remembered far easier than a straight forward list. When you recollect the shape, you will be able to prompt your memory for the details of the information contained within the shape. This can be further enhanced by attaching images to the mind map which will create further visual cues and make the details as memorable as it could possibly be.

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You can also train your brain to improve your memorization skills. There are specific pieces of software and websites, like Lumosity (cauta link) which focus on training your brain. These can improve your memory, basic skills and help you to develop better hand eye coordination. However, riddles, crosswords and other puzzles can also help you to develop your brain and improve your memory.

You can also practice these new skills and remembering details. Why not try to memorize a simple phrase, speech or a piece of poetry. Attempt to recall it throughout the course of the day. This may be tricky initially but after a few days practice you should find a great improvement in your capacity for memorizing details.

If you are struggling with remembering what you have read or with your memorizing skills in general, do not despair. These are just some of the simplest techniques but there are a great number of resources available which can help to boost your skills and memory.

These courses, books and learning materials have been optimized to focus on specific lessons and techniques, so you can choose the most effective method for you. We all learn new skills differently and by focusing on your strengths, you will be able to find a great learning tool which will help you improve your memorization skills for years to come.

Help others like you remember more of what they read by sharing your favorite technique in the comments section below.

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