Between a career as a freelance writer and my voracious hobby as a reader, I read a lot. I love reading and learning new things. However, because I read so much, sometimes remembering what I read gets a little jumbled.
Because of this, I’ve learned to employ a few tricks for reading comprehension and remembering what you read. Today, I’m sharing my tricks with you!
Original Photo by Hvaldez1
5 Helpful Strategies for Remembering What You Read
Reading comprehension a struggle? No worries. These tips will have you remembering what you read like a pro in no time.
Study the Details
Details are where I have the most trouble.
Often, in a conversation I’ll say,
“Hey, I remember this really cool thing that I read in a book from Daniel Handler the other day!”
The other person says, “Oh? What was it?”
And I say, “Um, something about pirates that totally relates to our conversation!”
But then that’s all I remember.
Not so good. So, I’m working on this point right along with you.
The best way I’ve found to remember the details of something are:
- Write down the details you want to remember.
- Tell it to someone right after you read it.
This is essential what you do in school to learn for a test. Imagine there will be a test on what you want to remember. What will you need to know? Usually, it is the “Ws” that we all learn in school: Who, what, where, when and how. If you really want to remember the specifics of something, write this information down.
The next solidification method is simply to tell it to someone else. I remember a lot more if I do both of these steps. If I just think I’ll remember the details of something, I usually don’t.
Do you remember those silly name association games, like “Jim-slim” and Anna-banana?”
You can use that with remembering what you read as well. For example, if you’re trying to remember a data from a story, make up a silly rhyme. The most common example is “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Everyone remembers that because it’s a rhyme.
You can do this with characters in books, dates, and even facts.
When you say something over and over, it sticks in your head. I find that I remember something best when I read it, write it, and then say it. Sometimes I have to do it multiple times before the information sticks.
I cannot focus on reading comprehension when I am distracted by other people talking, movies, or a lot of activity. I remember things best when I am focused and alone. If you really want to remember something, you either have to learn how to turn distractions off (I’m great at this – which is why my children sometimes have to yell to get my attention while I’m working) or go to a place where there are no distractions.
Your fancy-schmansy highlighter isn’t just for college. You can use it as an adult to remember what you read as well. Highlight things that you want to remember, and your brain sort of says “oh, I guess this is important! Let me remember that for you!” Plus, if you highlight, then when you want to go back later for a refresher, the most important bits stand out.
For online writing, I usually bold it, or copy and paste the stuff I want to remember into a Word document or something similar.
Remembering What You Read Today
We always have new input today from everywhere. Sometimes I wonder if a person living in the 1400s would curl up in a ball and go insane if they had to deal with all the distractions and input sources that we have today.
But, if you take these tips to focus your mental energy on remembering what you read, then you won’t stumble as much when someone asks you for information. This is helpful for school, at work, and even in your social life. You’ll sound smarter and impress all the gents/ladies.