1. Health

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Most Emailed Articles

Financial Stress

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

Responses: 22


Updated December 13, 2009

When reading a book (or a report for work or school, etc.) do you ever find yourself at the end of a page and realize you have no idea what you've just read? You are not alone. Many people with ADHD - and even those without - struggle with reading and remembering. Please share your own experiences, as well as strategies that help you comprehend, focus, and recall when reading.

Suggested Reading Strategy

There is nothing like highlighters to help guide your attention to the important points of what you are reading, but I need to take it one step further in order for it to sink into my mind and understanding. In a notebook, I write down what I have highlighted and as I am writing I say the words out loud to help me keep my mind from wondering. Also, for me, I need an absolutely quiet area or room, where I can be by myself because this reduces distractions down to a minimum.
—Guest Adrienne

Reading and Remembering

I've always been a slow reader. I use Post-Its to remember characters and their relationships to other characters. Post-Its are useful to remember main events in books I read for pleasure (usually fiction). I keep them in the front of the book as constant reminders of content I want to remember.
—Guest CoachRoche

Calming Music (Sans Lyrics)

Recently, I discovered that listening to instrumental music--specifically, classical and jazz--helps me to remain focused and block out my family's chatter/tv noise when I'm studying. I can't read when listening to singing, as the words being sung distract me from the words on the page. Also, the music must be serene; nothing too loud, erratic, or discordant. I'm truly grateful for this recent discovery.
—Guest Dawn

Running My Finger Along Words as I Read

I tend to lose my place a lot when I am reading. I like the idea of using a bookmark or ruler under each line. Right now I use my finger to run under each of the words. It helps me keep my place on the page a little better.
—Guest Ben

Study Techniques

I was diagnosed with extreme ADHD one month after completing my education and becoming a professor at a large community college. I taught my classes the study techniques that helped me. Many came back semesters later to report grade improvement (with or without ADD). Many people’s comprehension problems are because they treat all words as equally important. They don’t distinguish critical from filler. As a student, I observed the author’s writing style. Most state the topic in the paragraph’s first sentence. Then they fill the remainder of the paragraph clarifying the topic. I used a yellow highlighter for critical sentences and when reviewing, only read highlighted text. It usually explained the topic. If I understood it, I went to the next paragraph. The study time was reduced by at least 80%. I used pink to highlight material used by instructors since they felt it was important. Reviewing the pink text, I searched for related text to better understand the topics.

Reading Tips

I agree with many above, but particularly with JW Plante who is using a technique similar to what I and also a friend use (however, he has some even better additions, re the pink h/light). I use yellow for important overview/theory, and write, plus type my own notes, and a friend "low-lights" in dark blue "confusing babble" that over-explains the info. (lol) My books are all heavily notated, and I need multiple reconstructions to get info into the long-term memory, sometimes these are discussions and case studies with other learners although that sometimes dislodges the info I haven't captured totally. I like to learn alone first, jointly a little, then alone again. That is the ONLY way I can function, and I still fight it out with my faculty lecturers who feel it is OK to provide learning materials overnight for work shopping the next day. (sigh)
—Guest Creatingchange

Reading tips for ADHD

Are ADHD's aware that black letters on yellow pages best for reading.
—Guest Dr Billy Levin

Read paragraph wise

Take one paragraph memorize and try keep on memorization it will work your own ways
—Guest suresh H k

remembering what i have just read

For myself, I try to read it time after time and try to think and review it by saying alone, writing on whiteboard, notebook, paper, and talk to friend about it.
—Guest visal

Whatever works for you.

The most important technique I try to use is taking notes, so that I can have the visual stimulation. On top of that I reword the content in my own words, as a mental exercise to reinforce what I've already read. The best way for me to remember anything is to correlate the content to something I've already understood. This will help you make the connection between your long term and short term memory banks.
—Guest Lotto

Ear plugs

When I want to read and there are distractions, I put in ear plugs I get at the hardware store. They reduce noise by about 28 decibels which leaves only muffled voices. Plugs mostly cut out the high frequencies such as rustling paper, whispering, etc. Also, listening to instrumental music through headphones with the ear plugs in, I hear no outside noise at all.
—Guest dad2323

Go Faster

This is what works for me. Since my attention is limited, I don’t try and remember something I’m reading but skim the document as fast as I can picking along the way the words or expressions that give me the feel – the soul of it, also key words. These shards of thought register in my emotions or urgency part of my memory, depending on my need for the knowledge is how it’s registered. Thus when I access that feeling the document which is registered as important returns to me. At that point I will access all recorded real time knowledge at my disposal, i.e. notes, computer history, site pages, and then I will clarify my interest by paying attention. Kinda long, but okay. Also, I do use the cursor to fly through the sentence thus keeping my attention on the one line – my finger in place of a cursor if I am reading from a book.


I am interested and comforted to hear that some listen to music. I thought I was even more "crazy” because I do the same thing, only I listen to the faded in the background words of the music. At least my subconscious does. Words that I already trust and believe in what they are saying seem to calm my brain to maintain what I am reading. It seems like multi-tasking but it works for me. The more my brain has the work the better it seems to be. Try to read when you are not tired and your brain is at its most alert time. I immediately process the information to what I think about it making it personal and a part of what I stand for or not. I do believe in knowing who I am and what I believe in, so not to follow just any voice or opinion. Some things even though you cannot remember the whole thing that you are reading you can remember your "own definition to what you read." Highlighters, notes are great, too.

Spend More Time on Understanding

When I was in school I started to spend more time on studying. I put lines under the words while reading and spent a long time on the paragraphs to understand each well so it helps me in memorizing things. If the subject is difficult I draw diagrams for better illustration. All these things compensate the problem of bad concentration. But the problem that happened when I moved to the university is that the things in my life became wider and bigger, and I lost the ability to spend all my day and night on studying and reading and this affected my study and performance. Actually, I solved my problem when I was in school but I then failed with it after that.

Trick Yourself

I have this problem where I forget or skip lines, words, etc. One key thing that helps me is not only speaking out loud but in character voices - almost like a teacher-like voice as if explaining it or reading it to a classroom by hearing myself in a different tone or accent even. It becomes a little more fun interesting and even more engaging and easier to remember. Give it a try English accent. Strict and bold character or kind sweet gentle tone for question and different tone voice for answers if reading this style of study book. With stories the characters can all have their own voices you can make up. Even the narrations. It can be like an actor acting out the story. Helps to develop a mental picture.
—Guest Misty

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.