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Readers Respond: Tricks for Remembering What You've Just Read

Responses: 22

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Updated December 13, 2009

Find the Main Idea

When I read a paragraph I just ask myself “what is the main thing given here?” It’s almost always one thing and all the other words are woven around it. I read faster than before.
—Guest giahan

For Testing Read the Questions First

Knowing what you're looking for makes it easier to understand the story.
—Guest chris

Get the Gist

Usually we forget the forest in search of woods. So it is recommended to never to forget it. See through the content and think in a line about what this piece of writing is all about. Then start reading and every time you feel lost just remember the gist of what you have noted down. Also, it can happen that there is more than one central idea in a single piece of writing, usually starting in a new paragraph. Just write it down and follow the above step of reminding yourself of the gist every time you feel lost.
—Guest Nishant kumar

Memorizing Lines

I was diagnosed with ADHD about five years ago when I was 50 years old. Although, as I look back now at my life, based on what I now know, it is quite obvious that I have had this condition all my life. For reading, as I am sure most of you have discovered, I put my bookmark under each line and move it down the page as I read. It keeps me focused. As someone who has recently gone back into acting, I find that it is very difficult to learn lines quickly. This is most applicable to plays as opposed to film. Does anyone have any strategies for learning and memorizing lines for plays? Some of the techniques mentioned in this week's article are suggestions for line memorization.
—Guest Bob

Outlining, Flagging, Bouncing, Mozart!

With a textbook, I outline as I go if there will be a test. If there will be a paper to write, I tend to use post-it flags. I hate the look of highlighter in books, but it is useful in reading Xeroxed articles; however, it only helps me later when I come back to it, rather than helping me to remember at the time. Illustrating, when possible, works well. Summarizing for myself is also helpful. I also always try to sit in a place where I can wiggle, move around, kick my feet, or whatever else it takes. Mozart (wordless) is a great study aid!
—Guest Sarah

I Guess I Feel Differently...

I'm 52 years old now but recall in early or mid grade school trying to read, feeling pressured by the speed that I knew the others had and how slow I was. I still am a slow reader. I remember looking at the page and seeing the letters and words disappear in spots. It was like a drop of bleach had completely faded spots 1/2" or larger...not in the center of vision necessarily but moving around as I moved my eyes to another place on the page. Now THAT was a distraction! I would close my eyes, shake my head to get focused again and I had to sort of "resist" the mindset I had, probably anxiety that I did not understand at the time. Eventually, I suppose I over-compensated reading at the pace a person would speak according to the emotion and setting. One day when asked to read in HS sophomore English, I decided to (jocularly as always) "act" like an "actor" doing a dramatic reading. Oddly enough, I was somewhat embarrassed but must have picked up on a positive skill for helping my reading.
—Guest theant

Focus on Each Line

When I was in elementary school about....20 years ago, they noticed I could not read very well. They put me in a resource class that helped me read and remember what I read. The thing that helped the most was a tool they made for me from construction paper. They cut a slit in it about as wide as a sentence as tall as the letters. It helped me stay focused on one area of a page at a time. I find it hard to focus on a sentence sometimes because of all the words and letters on a page.
—Guest Trevor

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