Have you ever encountered the following scenario:
You: I just read a great book!
Friend: What’s it about?
You: (paused and tried so hard to recall what you’ve read)
Or have you forced yourself to finish a book in a day or so, because you worried you would forget the previous chapters after a reading hiatus?
Unfortunately, when it comes to expanding our knowledge base, we tend to value quantity above quality. Yes, the more you read, the more information you gain, but we have a tendency to forget what we read after only a few days.
Our inability to recall information from earlier reading is a frighteningly prevalent problem. To bombard ourselves with mounds of knowledge, we occasionally skim over portions; or read word for word, letter for letter, without grasping the content; or even scan the book and move on to the next. However, how often can loading and stacking assist us in remembering what we’ve read?
If we can’t remember anything from the books we read, what’s the point of reading? To make your reading effective and meaningful, here are four strategies to help you retain what you read:
1. Generate questions and look for answers.
When we read, one of our reading habits is to thoroughly immerse ourselves in the text and drill down into its intricacies. We believe that reading all of a book’s chapters is the best way to get the most out of it, but we don’t always remember the walls of text once the book is closed.
One way to help us remember things is to go over the table of contents (it’s there for a reason!) and make a list of questions, then actively look for solutions in the book. When we have a reason to read a book, it is easier to find and retain what we read.
2. Scribble in the margins while reading
Taking notes is an excellent way to improve your knowledge retention. We normally highlight or copy a paragraph that strikes us, but instead of doing so, we should summarise significant ideas in our own words to make a better impression.
During this process, you are teaching and clarifying the points for yourself. You can be confident that you have truly grasped and digested the content if you can offer an outline of the paragraph without hesitation.
3. Research on points that you don’t understand
When rewriting the summary in your own words, you may come across points that are imprecise or vague. Spend an extra 10 minutes researching to gain a better understanding. This does not imply that you should jump in headfirst.
Because most authors assume their readers have some basic knowledge of the themes before reading the books, taking the extra step to research can help you comprehend the subject matter in greater depth.
For example, while writing a philosophical book, the author automatically assumes that the readers have a basic understanding of various ideologies prevalent at the time the book is written.
4. Apply the knowledge to your real life.
As previously said, taking notes improves information retention. Many people believe that the more comprehensive our notes are, the better we will remember what we have read from a book. This is not true.
We frequently forget that we are simply copying paragraphs from the book to our notes since we are so intent on cramming every little detail of a book into our notes.
Also, how frequently do you go over your notes? The majority of people will say “never.” So all of your hard work scribbling notes has been for naught.
Try to infuse your personal life into anything you’re reading to make your reading and note-taking session more productive. This implies that as you take notes, consider how the information you’ve learned may benefit your life and help you solve real-world problems. Your notes will become more insightful and valuable as a result of this.
Reading requires devotion of time and effort
It may sound unnerving and stressful to spend much more time just trying to retain what you have read. It could be quite heavy at first, but as you follow the strategies more and more, your efforts will pay off, and you will definitely have better retention after reading each book.