No matter what kind of book you are reading, there are three absolute musts when reading a book.
In an earlier blog post I wrote about how I was going to try Ryan Holdings strategy for reading books. So, if you want to try to remember more than one thing from every book you read, I suggest you do the same as me. Use Adam’s, mine or make your own strategy. Read more about in here:
Why is there a strategy to reading?
Repetition is key. When we read something once, we sometimes talk about it with our friends and family, but we mostly never absorb it for more than a few hours, minutes, or even seconds at best. Try to remember what you liked about the last book you read. I am sure you could come up with a few things but think again.
A fraction of the things in a book that probably had over 100 pages is not a lot. If you underline whatever you liked, that might add up to a few pages. However, if you, for instance, write down a sentence or paragraph and how you can relate to it, the information will more likely stick with you.
So, instead of keeping bookmarks with you, folding the pages, and destroying the pages of a book (if you prefer physical hard copies), have little sticky notes, a pen, and paper next to you when you read. I tried a variation of Adam’s strategy with the last three books that I read, and I am amazed by how much better I was able to retain what I had read.
The three musts
- Mark/take notes (as you like) while reading ( and write down the pages you liked).
- When you have finished the book, come back to the marked parts and read them again.
- Write down the marked paragraphs/sentences and write your own thought/s about them on a piece of paper or in a notebook.
Don’t like to mark your books while reading? Take a picture or put a sticky note on the page you wish to come back to. There are always ways around it, but the most important is that you train your brain to read the information more than once. Teaching the brain how to sort out information can also help the brain retrieve information when needed.
Let’s play with the thought that you would like to paraphrase something or quote something from a book in a situation. If you once underlined it, you repeated that information to your brain once or twice. If you then wrote it down, you memorized it by seeing, reading it, and even writing it with a thought of your own next to it.
How does the memory work?
In short, when we read something for the first time, we can retrieve it from our short-term memory within the next 30 seconds without much effort. Our short-term memory is in the prefrontal cortex, but it isn’t enough to have the data stored in the short-term memory when we want to remember pages we have read. Hence, if we work on organizing the information by looking at what we wrote, reading it out loud, or perhaps drawing a little picture next to the text, we have the occipital and frontal lobes included in the process. Making it easier for the information to get stored in the temporal lobe as a memory, the temporal lobe being responsible for long-term memory.
Until next week, make your own strategy for storing information you read in the temporal lobe, or do you already have one?