How To Retain More of What You Read

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Reading in the library

But think about it; why do you even read books in the first place? It could be that you want to get something out of it, or you want to learn things that you can apply in your life to grow. That’s the whole point. It’s important to read books, but it is just as important to remember what you read and put it to good use.

However, no matter how much we enjoyed the text of a book, a lot of people admit to forgetting most of what they read. Just because forgetting is a human phenomenon doesn’t mean you should simply accept it. In fact, there are plenty of simple, creative strategies for retaining more of what you read. Whether it a novel, news articles, or scientific textbooks.

“How do you remember information you read in books?” In this post, I’ll explain 3 creative strategies for retaining more of what you read.

  1. Make all of your notes searchable.

Having searchable book notes is essential for returning to ideas easily. It increases the odds that you will apply what you read in real life. An idea is only useful if you can find it when you need it. There is no need to leave the task of reading comprehension solely up to your memory. Never read without a pencil, Underline sentences you find confusing, interesting, or important. Draw lines along the side of important paragraphs. Draw diagrams to see the structure of key ideas. You can also save your notes on Ebooks or Evernotes. As they are easy to use across multiple devices. They both help you to create and save notes even when you’re not connected to the internet.

  1. Integrate thoughts as you read.

Topics overlap and bleed into one another. All knowledge is interconnected. The most useful insights are often found at the intersection of ideas. For that reason, I try to consider how the book I’m reading connects with all of the ideas that are already knocking around inside my head. This process of integration and connection is crucial not only for making new ideas “stick” in your brain, but also for understanding the world as a whole.

Too often, people use one book or one article as the basis for an entire belief system. Forcing yourself to connect ideas helps you realize that there is no single way of looking at the world. The complex connections between ideas are often where the most beautiful bits of knowledge reside.

  1. Summarize the book in one paragraph

Summarizing teaches you how to discern the most important ideas in a text, how to ignore irrelevant information, and how to integrate the central ideas in a meaningful way. Summarizing what you have read helps you retain it in your memory. Summarization strategies can be used in almost every content area.

As soon as you finish a book, challenge yourself to summarize the entire text. This is a very useful exercise because it allows you to review your notes and helps you consider what was really important about the book. It so allows you to take a large selection of text and reduce it to the main points for more concise understanding.

Want to know more about how to develop your skills? Read 5 Essential Tips for Developing Your Skills.

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