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How To Read Books And Remember What You’ve Read

by Louise W. Rice

A library is a mine of immeasurable knowledge stored in the books. There is a saying that goes, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” These are the wise words of George R. R. Martin.

Our rudimentary learning starts with books, but unfortunately, we tend to forget most of it. Indeed, we may remember what the book’s subject was, but the nitty-gritty is often overlooked once the covers are closed. Because of this, students often search “write a paper for me on WritePaper” to pass the challenge of memorizing and analyzing to experts. Such assignments would be a breeze if the knowledge were retained.

Do you know you can change that? Yes, you can read and remember it all. Curious to find out how? We’ll give you several hints.

Read With a Purpose

Why are you going through that specific book? What do you aim to gain from it?

These are some of the questions you should ask yourself before opening the pages of a book. Once you figure out your reading purpose, you will be conscious, grasping all concepts laid out in the plot. That said, once you know your goal is to expand your vocabulary on a subject, understanding and remembering become easy.

Learn the Three Ways Our Brains Store Information

Our brain is designed to reminisce facts and experiences through impression, association, and repetition.

Impression entails visualizing the text, which is instrumental in storing information in the brain. Have you ever heard of the term photographic memory? The impression is the backbone of this concept. To apply this to your reading, you should stop and picture the scenery giving the words life. This way, you can connect A to B or scene 1 to scene 2 effortlessly.

Association is how you relate to the story. For instance, you read something and think, “this is so me,” or “I have experienced this once before.” Linking the reading to your experiences makes it more memorable.

Lastly, repetition is the referencing habit. Here, you make a point of going back to the text or section you did not understand. Sometimes, you find yourself drifting or zoning out, missing out on some facts. Yet, going through that part once again will help you better understand the story and efficiently remember it later on.

Consider the Four Levels of Reading

The four levels of reading are elementary, inspection, analytical, and synoptical.

The elementary one involves the simple understanding of the language that we learn from school. It knows how to describe a word and relating its meaning to the sentence and the story. Elementary reading is looking at a book’s title or section heading and identifying right away what you are about to dive into. Without an elementary learning level, you can never understand a text.

The second level is the inspection, and it entails the skill of scrutinizing the book. Here, you quickly or leisurely read through the book’s preface, the cover, and any other supplementary text available. It also includes going through the table of contents to foresee what you will tackle later on. 

The analytical level of reading is diving into the content and better comprehend the topics. It is here that you will get the proper classification of the book if that wasn’t clear from the cover. This is usually a mystery in novels where the story unfolds. But unlike novels, factual books are more straightforward, and you will have already known the classification during the inspection.

Last but not least, there is the synoptical level. It entails studying texts and materials that are in the same category to broaden your knowledge. This level is meant to add more value to the reading.

Take Notes and Highlight Text

This is yet another trick that will help you retain information better. This strategy works following your purpose. If you are reading to expand your vocabulary, you either highlight the text or jot it elsewhere. If you want to amass facts, do the same, and you will always come back and find the information easily.

Keep the Book and Notes Close By

Out of sight, out of mind. This saying is pretty accurate when it comes to reading and retention. If you often see the book or your notes, you will prevent procrastination and be compelled to keep referring to the necessary points. By doing this, you are exercising the repetition way of storing knowledge discussed above.

Read Within Your Attention Span

Let’s be candid; no one can concentrate evenly for more than an hour. Statistically, the average duration an adult can fully commit to reading is about 30 minutes. Beyond that, the concentration dwindles. So, do you know how long you can focus without getting distracted?

Knowing this will be very helpful as you can break down your reading time into those periods. You can take a breather or get a snack and immediately get back to the task. You should, however, stay disciplined not to get lured into doing something else instead. As an extra tip, stay away from the TV, laptop, or phone. 


It is always nice to know and remember what you have read, be it a romantic novel or a textbook. Every text can be beneficial to us, and retaining it is for our own good. So, if you want to be a pro at reading and mastering that information, use all the tricks mentioned here.

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