Reading is a great pass-time activity, an amazing learning tool and has many benefits for our physical and mental health. While reading for pleasure is a well known stress relief tool, trying to learn new skills through reading can be a different kind of experience.
Learning implies that you also need to remember a big part of the information you go through and that can sometimes be challenging for a whole set of reasons.
Understanding how to improve reading retention can make a huge difference in your life and luckily for you, we have all the answers you need.
Before going into great detail on how to increase reading retention and giving you all our reading retention tips, let’s make sure that we are all on the same page in regards to the meaning of this concept.
What is reading retention?
By its definition, reading retention is a concept that directly refers to the amount of information we remember from a reading material. It goes hand in hand to a certain extent with reading comprehension in the sense that retention without comprehension is a lot harder to achieve.
The retention of information from a certain reading material is achieved through memorizing the concepts we explore and the retention ratio differs from one individual to another. Reading retention skills are innate to a certain extent, but they can be improved through a series of methods, strategies and tools.
Why are reading retention strategies required?
Reading retention strategies are methods through which an individual is able to increase the amount of information they remember after passing through a reading material.
People have come up with numerous reading retention techniques throughout the years and many different memorizing techniques.
Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Spaced repetition
- The Loci technique
- The Storytelling technique
- The Building technique
- Mind Maps
But why do we need all these reading retention techniques?
Reading retention doesn’t always come naturally
These techniques have become more and more necessary in the past century because of the sheer amount of data people need to memorize in order to be successful in their respective fields. School teaches students more and more information from one decade to another and everything in life is a lot more competitive than it used to be.
While for some, this ability to quickly retain information from reading material is innate and comes naturally, others struggle to improve their abilities as much as possible. Being a slow learner can set you back quite a bit in the fast-paced lives we have, so using certain strategies or techniques to improve the amount of information you manage to retain and how quickly you manage to memorize things is a necessity.
To minimize learning time
While the ability to retain information may be spot on for most of us, the speed with which we manage to memorize what we read differs from one person to another. It may take me 15 minutes to go through, understand and memorize a text while others do it in much less.
Reading retention techniques serve this exact purpose, to increase the amount of information we are able to memorize in the same amount of time. We don’t always have to remember everything we read, but even when we read for fun, being able to remember character names on the first read makes the experience a lot better and more rewarding.
Not everyone uses the right tools
Last but not least, reading retention strategies are also necessary because people don’t use other, more efficient tools.
Reading tracking apps like Basmo come with a plethora of functionalities meant to make the reading experience more pleasant and rewarding. Among other important features that can help you become a better and more organized reader, Basmo comes with a couple of innovations meant to help specifically with reading retention. Those who choose to use Basmo are very unlikely to ever need other reading retention strategies or techniques.
How to improve reading retention?
If using a complicated information retention strategy like creating your memory palace or doing funny word associations and other similar tricks is not your cup of tea, rest assured knowing that there are actually other things you can do to improve your reading retention skills.
Here’s a couple of the most useful tips and tricks for easily increasing the amount of information you manage to memorize while reading.
Starting to use a reading tracking app like Basmo can help you tremendously with overcoming any reading retention problems you may have, in more than one way.
Keep a reading journal
Basmo allows you to keep a reading journal where you can write down your thoughts and feelings about the material you just went through. Making a habit from writing these things down after every reading session will engage your brain in an even more complex activity than simply reading.
By forcing your brain to make connections, by being mindful and acknowledging your feeling, you ensure that the information you just read gets memorized in a much bigger percentage than it normally would.
Take notes while reading
Quite similarly, taking notes with Basmo while you read is a great way of ensuring that you are engaged enough with what you read to retain more information that you would in normal conditions.
You can make the notes to ensure you remember character names, main themes, personal ideas about the writing and what’s even better is that Basmo allows you to format the notes however you see fit. You can use different fonts, font sizes and colors and you can organize your notes in a way that is easy to understand at later times.
Use the reading planner
One key element to having the ability of retaining more information as you read is to be organized. It may seem like the two are unrelated but the truth is that having everything put in order can improve your reading retention quite a bit.
Scheduling is pretty straight forward and allows you to select the days and times you want to read in every week and you will be reminded of scheduled reading sessions through notifications.
By keeping your reading habits organized, your mind will become more organized, which in turn will allow you to retain more information while reading.
Last but definitely not least, Basmo allows you to save your favorite quotes from the books you read, which can then be formatted as images and edited as you see fit. Simply writing down a quote makes it a lot more likely for you to remember it, but creating a visual quote can take things to a whole different level.
By taking a written text and seeing it transform in a colorful image, your brain will make much deeper connections and on top of remembering the words themselves, you are very likely to remember the visual version of the quote.
As you can see, Basmo can be a tremendously helpful tool on your journey to improving reading retention. There is a lot Basmo can offer you even beyond helping you to remember more from what you read.
While Basmo is definitely the best solution out there, being a complex tool that can aid your reading habits in more ways than you can imagine, there are other things you can try if you haven’t been convinced to try reading tracking apps.
Give Your Reading Experience
An Extra Boost With Basmo
Track the books you read, monitor the time you spend reading and keep notes on your reading habits and how it makes you feel. You can set yourself targets for the time you spend reading and you can get notified whenever you’re behind on your reading time.
Read out loud
One of the things that is said to help with reading retention is to simply read out loud. While reading internally may seem like the way to go, since you are only focused on reading, the truth is that the more you engage your brain, the more likely you are to remember what you read.
So, reading out loud can help you retain more information from what you read.
Scientists have concluded that the reason for this is the active involvement – adding a production element to certain words, they become more distinctive in our memory and therefore easier to retrieve. In other words, when reading aloud, you remember both the actual words and the information you go through, and the way those words sound coming out of your mouth.
Read before going to bed
Despite being pretty counterintuitive, this particular trick has proven to be quite effective for improving reading retention. While most of us would be inclined to think that reading in the morning could actually be a better suited option since our brain is well rested, night reading can allow us to better remember the information we go through.
That is because memory consolidation is mostly done while we sleep. Every night, while we get our much needed rest, our brain is actually hard at work to organize our memories, get rid of unnecessary ones and strengthen the neuronal connections that constitute the memories our brain considers important.
Absorbing information this close to the whole memory consolidation process can be a great way to ensure that more information is memorized from the books we read before going to bed.
Read paperback books
Despite the fact that e-books do come with a wide series of advantages for those who choose them over paperback books, like avoiding book clutters and lower costs, when it comes to information retention, they do seem to make things harder for the reader.
A study has shown that reading paperback books allow readers to retain more information than when reading books in an electronic format. This may be due to the physical aspect of reading paperback books. The spatial context of reading an actual book instead of scrolling on a kindle makes it easier for us to retrieve information and this is believed to have something to do with our ability to place a certain piece of information on a part of the book based on the number of pages we’re turning for example.
Write a summary
Writing and remembering go hand in hand. It’s a well known fact that we are more likely to remember something we write down. This is due to the fact that writing engages our brain on a deeper level, strengthening the neuronal connections that constitute our memories.
Writing a summary of a book we’ve just read not only forces us to recall the most important information and figure out a way to put it in our own words by condensing hundreds of pages into just a couple of pages, but also deepens our understanding of the book.
Of course, sometimes the easiest and most obvious strategy can also turn out to be a winner. When it comes to finding out how to improve reading retention, the simplest and most accessible way to do it can be to simply read everything twice.
Using repetition while we read, we are more likely to remember the information we pass through. The more we repeat something, the stronger the memory becomes and we are more likely to be able to retrieve it when needed.
Final thoughts on reading retention strategies
Learning how to retain what you read is extremely important and can make a huge difference in your life, whether you read for pleasure or to learn.
Using Basmo can have a hugely beneficial role not only for your reading habits, but also on the amount of information you manage to retain, so give it a shot and see for yourself.
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