Has it ever happened to you? You spend hours and hours reading books that in a couple of months become a distant memory to you. Does it mean they weren’t interesting? No. Does it mean that I wasn’t interested in them? Also no. It’s actually all about our memory. That's why today we're exploring ultimate book reading tips using psychology insights!
How your memory works when you're reading a book
Reading a book means you are taking in information, which (hopefully, if the book is good) you would like to remember. We can divide memory into two different types and each one serves its unique purpose. Short term memory makes information available to us for a couple of seconds or minutes. Short term memory is important when we are reading a book because we need to temporarily work with the information we are looking at.
From here on there are two options. You either forget the information (which happens most of the time) or the information is transferred to your long-term memory. The memories can be stored in our long-term memory for several months or even years. We are more likely to remember things that have an emotional meaning to us, that are often repeated and have engaged several of our senses. And now let’s take a look at how this can help us in book reading!
Understand what you’re reading
If you don’t understand what you’re reading, you are not going to remember in for sure. That’s where the main idea identification has proved to be a useful trick. When we are reading a text, identifying the main idea behind is one of the first steps towards understanding the content. Work with your mind in asking yourself: what am I reading about? And try to answer that question in one simple sentence. Depending on the text you might have to dig a little deeper to find the main idea. It could be placed at the beginning, in the middle or even at the end of the passage or chapter you’re reading.
Summarise what you just read to yourself
Summarising the content requires you to actively work with the information you are presented with. Taking just a couple of moments after reading a chapter or a book, to think about what you just read and creating a short summary of it in your head, will make it more likely that the information will stick. There’s a book reading hack I wish I knew one year ago!
Come back to the information after some time We already talked about how we remember things, remember? We are more likely to remember things that are emotional and/or are repeated. Of course, no one expects you to reread all the books you once read but sometimes just opening the book and going through a couple of pages can spark your memory. Another great way of recalling the content of a book is reading or watching book summaries. Youtube channels such as Minimalist Ways do a great job of summarising a whole book in just a couple of minutes. Quick and effective. It’s also a great way to get inspired about what to read next!
If you're willing to put in a bit more effort, creating a reading journal could be the thing for you. Write in: the title of book with a short summary and the date when you read the book. This information is bound to bring the memories back in no time! You can even use it to write in your favourite quotes from the book as additional info and to create an extra personal touch.
What do you think is one book everyone should read? Let’s get some inspiration in the comments below.