What to do before, during, and after working with the book.
Content marketer & editor of blog RescueTime Jory Mackay explains why we often forget what I read recently, and how to fix it.
How the brain learns read
Our brain has a limited amount of memory, and he has to constantly evaluate the importance of incoming information. Therefore, to remember everything read is simply impossible.
To better understand how this happens, remember the lessons of literature in school. Surely you can describe the plot, characters and even a few key scenes from the former curriculum books. But forget what I read just a few months ago.
There’s a simple explanation. Do you remember what you’ve read in school, because you had to remember that. You had a goal to get a good grade and you knew that this information will be used in the future — in the test work or report. And the book you got to read with you on vacation, only helped to kill time on the plane — and that’s all.
The curriculum is specially developed so that you could link new knowledge and consolidate learned into practice. But the same thing is happening with you right now: the more there are chances to compare with something of the read information, the better you will absorb it.
This does not mean that you must read just what immediately begin to apply in life. But if you want to remember something, you will have to define our goals and intentions.
How to prepare for the reading
You can be determined when you book. But still in the end will forget everything as soon as I turn the last page. To avoid this, you need to pre-tune.
Choose the right books
Our brain likes to blame everything knowledge together, to save energy and space. So that we could remember what they read, it must be special. And for that, you should avoid these two errors:
- Read what others. The publishing industry produces a huge number of books per year. Add to them the publication of blogs, articles, research. It’s easy to get confused, if you do not create a personal reading list.
- To force myself to read uninteresting books. So you’re just wasting your time. Studies have shown that Expecting to teach enhances learning and organization of knowledge in free recall of text passages when you are interested in something, the likelihood that you will remember and can use later, much higher.
Here are some ways which will help you to choose the right book.
- Try to follow the advice of a scholar of mythology Joseph Campbell: “the less in book borrowing, the better.” This will help you to gain knowledge from the source.
- Look for books that recommend different groups of people — this approach recommends blogger and editor Kemarin high. For example, choose the one that you are offered three friends from different professional circles.
- Listen to the inner voice, if nothing helps. Choose those books and articles that really interest you for personal reasons. If you find that fall asleep or checking your phone every two minutes, most likely, you should keep looking.
Understand what you want from reading
Next, you need a goal. Answer the question why you are reading this book / article / study?
There is nothing wrong with the intention just to learn something of personal interest. But if you want to use and remember in the future, it is better to understand in advance how you are going to apply the new information.
The importance of this step confirms the study Expecting to teach enhances learning, recall . In it all participants were given the same reading material. One group of volunteers said that in the end they are waiting for test and the other is that they will have to teach someone to read.
In the end, both groups underwent the same test. But the group “teachers” have coped much better. Preparing to qualitatively reproduce all the material they tried to organize information and remember it especially important points.
So try to identify a clear goal before you open the workbook: so you better learn and remember the reading.
View the main part of the book
Our brain likes new information, but does not ignore the fact that we do constantly. Therefore, a cursory review of the books and the so-called “pre-reading” will help to fix in the memory the material that you are going to take.
In his work “How to read a book” Mortimer Adler explains what to remember read need to start with the “structural stage”. That is not to proceed immediately to the first page, and to get a General understanding of the content of the book. To do this, Adler proposes to answer the following questions:
- This book is a practical or theoretical?
- What field of study she mentions?
- Structured as a book (not only contents, but also other sections)?
- What problems trying to solve is the author?
Flip through the whole book, read the headlines and a few random paragraphs. Review the list of references, and note what sources the author refers to. Find the alphabetical index. Make a complete picture of what are going to take.
How to read
Not all of us in childhood taught what is called active reading. Compared to “passive” process, during which you just mentally say the words, active interaction with the book is a work that requires reflection and, frankly, a lot of time. But it’s worth it.
Regularly make time for reading
According to the study, Here’s Why Your Brain Needs You to Read Every Single Day of the University of Michigan, you need to read at least 30 minutes a day. And this should be done not only in order to quickly handle a large number of books. Scientists have found that repeated reading increases concentration, strengthens neural connections in the brain and develops emotional intelligence.
It is important that while reading you are not distracted. Turn off notifications and use applications that block the entrance to social networking and other sites.
Make the right notes
Well, when the plot of the book is unputdownable. But if we are talking about learning and memory, not to allow the thoughts to flow free stream.
To avoid this, take notes. In the library you would have killed for it, but it is best to use marginalia — the comments in the margins, end-to-end headers, sketches, ideas. It will make you a more active reader and will help you remember information.
There are many ways to do high-quality recordings, but the main thing is to avoid the following:
- To highlight, reread and rewrite the text. Such passive methods are largely useless and can even complicate the memorization.
- Spend more time making notes and pointers than the reading. The record is good only in case if they are easy to use and you can quickly return to them. Find a simple technique that will work for you personally.
Communicate new and known ideas
In addition to taking notes, active reading involves building links between what you read and what you already know about the subject.
To do this, when faced with new ideas, try to relate them with the known facts — so it will be easier to link the old and the new. Compare what you found in the text, with the knowledge that has already been received by you previously.
For example, the founder of the Farnam Street blog, Shane Parrish, the best way to create relationships is the constant updating of the records in the course of reading. He said on the sidelines of your thoughts, questions, and, most importantly, connection with other ideas. When he reached the end of the Chapter, he immediately writes all its highlights, with particular emphasis on the topics where to apply.
What to do after reading
At this point you have done everything possible for understanding, assimilation and linking read. But long-term memory to a greater extent based not on the “read” of knowledge, while knowledge is “experienced”. So the important thing now is to turn information into an experience.
Apply what you read into practice
Let’s return to the example with the lessons of literature. You remembering what they read, not only because aware of the need to use the material. And also because so you had to do. You write tests and reports, and discussed these topics. You have joined thoughts from books with global themes and new ideas. But how often do you do it now?
One of the best ways to remember what you have read, to find ways to use it. Tell a friend, share your thoughts on the Internet, write a short review of the book and discuss it with someone who is not familiar work. Any practice will help you to fix the representation in memory.
Explain to someone read
We have found that you will probably remember the material if you try to retell it to someone. Better yet, if it’s a child.
According to the Nobel laureate in physics Richard Feynman, one of the best ways to really learn something is to explain it in as simple words. Use short sentences and avoid jargon. Plain speaking will make you truly understand the subject and not mask obscure complex language.
Go back to your notes and organize them
When you’re read to apply in practice or to explain to someone the material, likely to find places that are forgotten or not quite sure. Here you will need all those wonderful notes you’ve made.
Return to the source material and your records and verify that immediately catches the eye. Make sure you have simplified complicated descriptions. And then organize everything in a concise and clear text — a brief summary. What would you tell about the book, having only 30 seconds?
If you try, from a book, you can get a huge return. This does not mean that it is impossible sometimes to just relax and sink into another reality. But to remember information and grow professionally and personally, to read you have to be conscious.
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