7 Tips for Memorizing What You Read
People read for different purposes. Some of us need to study for the exams; other people read literature from authors they love, while others read online content for research purposes or for pure pleasure. It doesn’t matter what your reason is; you clearly read different content on a daily basis, and you’re frustrated when you can’t remember important information although you know you’ve encountered it somewhere.
Is there a way to make reading more effective? Some people can remember every name, character, and event from a book they’ve read years ago, although their minds were stuffed with tons of other details from that point on. What’s their secret for success?
There are different ways to boost the capacity of your brain to memorize the things you read. You need to find your focus and preserve the attention on a high level during the reading session. The following 7 tips will help you do that.
Read With A Purpose
Everyone has a different purpose for reading a particular piece of text. What’s yours? If, for example, you’re reading an ‘article’ on Distractify just because you have extra time to waste, then there is no point in burdening your memory with information you won’t need in future. However, if you are reading for a useful purpose and you know you’ll need that information sooner or later, then it will be easier for your brain to focus on the task at hand.
Keep the purpose in mind at all times. Remind yourself that you’re reading the text because you want to know more about the topic, you need to get a good grade, you want to make a good impression to your partner, or for any other reason you have. If you don’t have such a guiding point, your brain won’t be stimulated to memorize the information.
When you are impressed by the things you read, you’ll remember them for much longer. Focus on the impressions and ask yourself how you feel about the things you read. If, for example, you read an article on the holocaust and you approach it as dry history facts, you won’t remember anything. However, when you realize that those numbers reflect the suffering of real people and you try to imagine what they went through, you connect with the information on a deeper level and it creates a lasting impression.
Those impressions will come to surface whenever you try to remember a particular detail.
There is a famous Latin proverb:
repetitio est mater studiorum(repetition is the mother of learning). If you need to memorize phone numbers, song lyrics, history lessons, or any other thing, you repeat until you can remember the details flawlessly.
Of course, you won’t want to read a book several times in order to memorize the most important parts, but you can highlight the key points and return to them once you finish the book. This partial repetition will bring everything back, and you’ll remember all segments much better.
Create Mental Images And Associations
Have you ever wondered why the lesson plans for a particular course are connected? The lectures flow from one topic to another and every piece of information is connected to something you previously learned. There is a reason for that: association. When the student is able to link the new information with something he already knows, his memory functions much more effectively. He gains new knowledge, but he also upgrades the existing base.
It’s always important to link the things you read with information that already exists in your mind. For example, if you’re trying to remember someone’s birthday, relate it to an important date that you can easily remember.
In addition to associations, you should also create mental images of the content you read. Let’s say you’re reading The Castle by Franz Kafka. This novel doesn’t have many characters, but it’s still very complex and the author doesn’t make it easy for you to remember the actions and emotions of the characters. When you create your mental image of the place, the castle, K. and the other people that appear in the book, you’ll have the story in your own mind and it will be easy for you to remember the details for a long time.
Discuss The Topic With A Friend Or Colleague
You just read the intriguing results of a scientific research? Why don’t you discuss them with someone interested in the same matter? If you don’t have a friend or colleague you can talk to, then you can always expose your opinions and impressions on public forums.
The conversation will serve as your diary. As you start talking or writing, the information you read will come back to you and you’ll surprise yourself with the load of data you were able to memorize.
It’s important to keep track of your impressions. You can’t expect your mind to store all information you get in a lifetime. When you write these things in your private diary, a public forum, or an email you sent to a friend, you’ll be able to access them at any point and refresh your memory with the things you already know.
Discipline Your Eyes
The mechanics of reading is important. If you want to read carefully and pay attention to every word on the page, your eyes must be really sharp. You can train them to fixate from one point to another in left-to-right direction. Just sit in front of a blank wall, open your eyes and start moving them from left to right, without focusing on a single point. Don’t strain them too much. Repeat the exercise few times every day, and try not to blink as you move the eyes in that direction.
With time, this movement will become natural for your eyes and you’ll be able to see all words in the text without making a particular fixation point more prominent than another.
Set Some Order In Your Surroundings
If you’re lying in bed and your clothes are tossed around you, you won’t remember much of the things you read. You’ll have troubles finding your highlighting pen in all that mess, and different things will grab your focus in that position. You need to set some order around you. When you’re reading something really important, you want to be in a distraction-free environment that enables you to focus.
Sit on your desk and maintain a comfortable position with a proper posture. Such attitude will enable you to approach the things you read very seriously. Your mind will easily focus on the text and you’ll be able to memorize the information more easily.
Memory Requires Training
As you practice memorizing information, the capacity of your brain will grow. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t remember everything you just read; you can always go back to the content to remind yourself of the important details.
As you read more and you try to remain focus, you’ll notice how you’re becoming better in memorizing information. The most important thing is to believe in yourself and stay committed to the daily reading routine.
Stephanie Norman is a professional writer from Sydney with for 4 years of experience. She writes business, creative, and academic content. Also, sometimes she provides editing service at Australian Writings, a company that offers assignment help and assistance for students. You can follow her at Facebook and Google+.