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How To Remember What You Read

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Woman sitting on sofa reading magazine
AMV Photo/ Digital Vision/ Getty Images

Reading is important. But, the next step is making sure that you remember what you've read! Memory is sometimes a tricky thing. You may have just read the text, and the concepts and ideas of the poem or novel may not "catch" on... The images may just fly right out of your head. Here are a few tricks for remembering what you read.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. What's your motivation?
    Do you want to read the poem or book, or are you only reading it because it's assigned. Even if your reading is required, you may discover something about the author or text that will interest you. 
     
  2. Are you sleeping?
    If you aren't getting enough sleep, you probably won't be able to concentrate on what you're reading. 
     
  3. Are you confused?
    If the plot, characters, or word usage is confusing for you, you likely won't be able to remember what you read. It's a bit like reading a foreign language. 
  4. Are you connected?
    Does a character remind you of a friend? Does the setting make you want to visit the place? 
     
  5. Do you see it?
    Can you visualize the rainy day and the funeral? Or the band of intrepid comrades who set off to save all that they hold dear? 
     
  6. Read it; hear it; be it!
    Read the lines. Then, speak them out loud. And, put some character into the words. 
     
  7. What is distracting you?
    Are you worried about school, money, your parents, or your significant other? Sometimes distractions can make it difficult to pay attention to what you're reading.
     
  8. Are you paying attention?
    Whether you are reading the text for a class or for your own personal enjoyment, jot down all those great quotes and ideas for future reference. 
     
  9. How often do you read?
    If you read frequently, you'll likely have an easier time with remembering what you're reading (and what you've read). Memory really is all about: Practice makes perfect. 
     
  10. Are you marking it?
    Post-It note flags are great resources when it comes to reading and remembering what you read in books and literature! 

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