How to Absorb What You Read

As the world transitions away from ink and paper towards the Internet and mobile devices, the ability to read properly and to retain information doesn't decrease in value but increases in importance. As the Internet grows larger and larger, the amount of reading material grows larger as well. Therefore, if you have any intention of reading a lot of material, then it is imperative that you learn how to absorb what you read efficiently and quickly.


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    Read when you are alert and attentive. Your mind will be able to focus better at certain times of the day, and being able to focus is an important aspect of retaining information. Read when your mind is able to concentrate.
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    Get relaxed and comfortable. If you're in a rush to finish reading, you're not going to be able to give it your full attention. Details will enter your mind but will not be committed to memory. When you want to retain what you're reading, make sure that you have enough time allotted.
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    Separate the important details from the trivial details. Unless you're reading a very dense article, you'll likely encounter a lot of superficial words and phrases that aren't very important. Skim through your reading and focus on the parts that are interesting or important.
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    Pause every once in a while to take in what you're reading. Instead of reading the article straight through from beginning to end, pause periodically to think back on what you've just read. In particular, you should pause and reflect when you've just read an important passage that you know you'll want to retain. By reflecting, you're essentially taking in the information twice, and that helps to commit it to memory.
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    Take notes as you read. When reading an article, taking notes might seem like a strange thing to do. However, writing down information utilizes a different area of your brain than reading does, which means that you'll be reinforcing the concepts a second time. This aids tremendously with retention and memory.
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    Outline the material that you're reading. As you read through, using short phrases to outline the thought process of the author. This is similar to taking notes, as it engages a separate part of your brain and causes you to be an active reader. An outline will help you to understand better, which will result in better retention.
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    Reread and review when you've finished your first pass through. By reading the material a second time, you'll know exactly what to expect and what to focus on. Spend more time on the areas you didn't understand and skip the parts you grasp clearly. By reading it a second time, you'll be able to absorb the information and you'll have a greater chance of retaining that information.

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Categories: Learning Techniques and Student Skills