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lalala

How to read?

Usually the reason I pick up a book this days is to learn about subjects I'm personally interested in.

 

My issue is that lots of times I finish a book and don't remember a lot about it. I have an idea of its basic structure and remember specific passages but even then if I go back and read the paragraphs I'll probably discover I missed some important aspect of the text.

 

Unlike many, to me, reading in itself is not a pleasurable experience. I enjoy and love specific books, I like learning, but not the action itself. 

 

I'm trying to figure out if I can change some of my reading habits to improve my understanding.

 

This are some ideas and the potential problems:

  • Book Club: I think probably this one would work best for me. Read the book and then discuss it with people, the downside is I would have to read stuff others selected.

  • Make a blog post about it?: This looks like a lot of work and I'm a terrible writer.

  • Read about subjects that are on the news: I think this would help me relate the stuff people talk about with the things I read but that would limit a lot the books I can select.

  • Reread specific chapters: I'm doing this and I think it helps, I try  to go back and read chapters that for some reason pop in my mind, but I don't like rereading a lot.

 

Do you have some advise? What do you do?

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Maybe the books suck so they leave you unsatisfied?

 

Also, reading is very demanding on the brain, and speech is much less so. Have you tried listening to the books in audio?

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Audio books.

 

Reading, as in the actual action of looking at text, is a very archaic form of communication and counter-productive to our nature. Learning how to read is as an arduous process as is learning how to draw, or play an instrument, diet, and so on. Silent reading is a phenomenon only centuries old if I'm not mistaken. People used to have to read out loud in order for them to comprehend what words were written. The spacing between words is also artificial because there is no such thing in human speech. If you look at the audiogram of someone talking it's basically impossible to distinguish by looking where one word begins and ends.

 

We didn't evolve to hear sounds with our eyes. Given the same text, the brain has to work a lot more to understand it by reading it than by listening to it. Audiobooks are far more efficient, you don't have to sit down and focus all your brain power on them, you don't have to make periodic pauses, you don't have to liner on phrases you didn't understand because you read them wrong, etc.

 

I got into audiobooks about 10 years ago, and it wasn't an easy process, but now I can't consume books any other way. In fact I have had a period when I would "read" 2 books per week. I don't anymore because I kinda ran out. I don't worry myself with how much of the book I remember after reading it because not all books are worth remembering. I trust my brain to sort out from the barrage of information I give it what is interesting and useful to me and not to waste precious brainspace with pointless data.

 

I know some people sell reading as a mark of intelligence. It's no more a mark of intelligence as is watching movies/documentaries.

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I have the inverse problem, not being able to remember what I heard well. There are no one size fits all approaches to that. Some people are visual learners, others hands-on learners and others audio learners.

What I usually do while reading is that I highlight important parts, I write comments in the book trying to relate it to current events or personal experience. Also, if I disagree with a passage in a book I write down near it the reasons why I disagree with it... And, after I finish it, unless the book is so, so bad that I burn it (only did it twice), I write a book review of it. Depending on how relevant I think the book is, the review turns more into an essay, which can be as long as 40 pages long -- even then I do not remember 100 percent of it, but about 80 percent. So far I wrote 107 book reviews, started doing the reviews in 2011.
 

The secret is also to read other books about the same subject, from different angles, different perspectives. You keep reinforcing your brain that this information is important.
 

Audio books, lectures, speeches, podcasts... They are interesting, they are a good way of killing time, also good to have in the background while doing dishes, cleaning the house or whatever, but no matter how much I pay attention to them, I can only remember tiny bits of it. I have been for example to two NPI Conferences. Man... If you ask me the next day I will probably only be able to remember the very general topics that were spoken of.

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A book "Triple Your Reading Speed" helped me eliminate some bad habits and reduce fatigue.

 

An app I use on Android and in Chrome "Reedy" helps me power through novels, while maintaining excellent comprehension.

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My tip is to take your time (don't be afraid to stop and reflect) and read out loud (or at least mouth the words). That works well for me.

 

Audio books, that some suggested, are, for me, terrible. I find that it's a lot easier to zone out if I listen to an audio book.

 

A/b test, pal!

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My tip is to take your time (don't be afraid to stop and reflect) and read out loud (or at least mouth the words). That works well for me.

 

Audio books, that some suggested, are, for me, terrible. I find that it's a lot easier to zone out if I listen to an audio book.

 

A/b test, pal!

I had a teacher in high school one time make me notice that if I read it out loud a text I could not remember at all what I was reading. It was very strange, I never, ever read it out loud, only did that in school, and for some reason, when I did it, I simply could remember no word at all about what I read.

 

Tried my best to solve that, but still, I can only vaguely remember a word or two, so what I do if I have to read someone something, is that either I read it to myself first and paraphrase it, or read it first for myself and them loud to the person, that way still being able to remember what I read to myself. I am a total visual learner.

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For me, reflection on the topic has been helpful when the amount of detail has been low. Works good when it comes to remembering concepts. What I do is that whenever something has been presented in it's whole (say for example NAP), I stop reading and reflect on the matter. I try to identify what I think about it, and how I think another person might conceive what I just read. Some times, when I study for a test, I try to summarize the concept in as few words as possible and I write it down for future use.

 

I hope this could come to use for someone.

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The question of how to read is connected to what to read. Fluff can be read speedily, more important texts slowly, in detail, with annotations and what have you. While we can't avoid reading bad texts in a professional setting we can greatly reduce those in our private lives. Doing that makes it easier to read.

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Sounds stupid, but I've found reading out loud can help.

 

It's not stupid. This practice also helps me debug my own writing.

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My apologies on taking so long to respond but it took a while to find a book buried in a box, Reading in the Brain by Stanislas Dehaene and now that I've found it:

Were you taught to read with phonics or whole-language?

 

Phonics utilizes brain mechanisms as they exist helping you absorb new words and information efficiently; whole-language impairs your ability to read novel words and information because it is counter to brain functions:

 


...the whole-language method provides no ground for generalizing to new words. (p 226)

 

If a child is to learn to read quickly and well, he must be given well-structured grapheme-phoneme instruction. (p 227)

 

The faster the speech-to-sound route is automatized, the more a child will be in a position to concentrate on the meaning of what he reads. (p 228)

 

 

Several generations struggle with reading due to the whole-language approach which is still an improperly tested model where the child does learn to read but comprehension suffers; studies saw the former and ignored the latter. Most people that have the issue you are describing were taught this method--including me.

 

The solution is lessons on phonics (doing this with a partner will also help you learn better). I taught my children, then my step-daughter, and I was working on it with my grand-daughters. Although my grand-daughters were too young to grasp the graphemes, they were learning the phonemes and it showed in the way of improved speech.

 

And if you were taught phonics it may have been improperly taught--some schools try to teach both systems which makes it worse than teaching one or the other. So, you might just need to relearn phonics as a refresher; akin to rehashing fundamental drills in any sport one plays.

 

 

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Sounds stupid, but I've found reading out loud can help.

Depends on the person. If I read something out loud I can barely remember anything. If I read it silently I have a proverbial photographic memory, to the point I can remember the font that it was written on, if it was the left or right page, any figures that were next to it and so on and so forth.

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I have the exact same problem. However, I have made some progress. I started by writing out an explanation\summary of each paragraph I read. I know that sounds like a lot of work and it will drastically slow down your reading speed but what good does reading do if you can't recall the content later? I then drew out the connections to what is in that paragraph to things I already know (think mind map). After several books I found that my mind was doing this work automatically as I read so I started doing pages instead of paragraphs and then after awhile I started doing chapters instead. I am still doing chapters but I am thinking about trying half the book instead. However, I think sticking with doing each chapter might be best for me. I am going to keep experimenting with this. 

 

Doing this has changed the way I read. I went from passively consuming to actively parsing and connecting.

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 I started by writing out an explanation\summary of each paragraph I read. I know that sounds like a lot of work and it will drastically slow down your reading speed but what good does reading do if you can't recall the content later?

 

That. You can speed up the progress by reducing a part of a text to its core theses / arguments using intendation.

 

Thesis of paragraph(s)

      Argument for thesis

             Supporting argument

      Argument for thesis

             Supporting argument

             Supporting argument

                    Further supporting argument

 

This allows you to see the argumentative structure of a text instantly and to memorize it to the level you want. 

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On 28/01/2017 at 8:03 PM, lalala said:
My issue is that lots of times I finish a book and don't remember a lot about it. I have an idea of its basic structure and remember specific passages but even then if I go back and read the paragraphs I'll probably discover I missed some important aspect of the text.

 

 

There is a spectrum in Myers-Briggs Intuitive Vs Sensing. On one end of the spectrum is someone who thinks in terms of details, at the other end of the spectrum is someone who thinks in terms of ideas. If you don't remember details, you probably understand and remember the overarching concepts better than most people.

It's a shame school teaches us that remembering detail is more important.

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