Sunday, February 16, 2014

Guest Post: 5 Tricks to Remember What You Read

Hello Fellow Readers! Today we have a guest post from Brenda at the Daily Mayo. As a book lover, she has some ideas about how to better remember what you read while you read it! Take it away Brenda.

If you’re reading this blog, you probably love books- a lot. So do I! I probably read nearly 100 books a year for my blog, Daily Mayo (and just for fun). Reading so many books and remembering what each one is all about can be a challenge. Today, I’m sharing 5 tips that I use to keep track of what I read- whether it is fiction, non-fiction, textbooks, or whatever!

Read in a Quiet Place
This is the most important tip for remembering what you read. If you are distracted by other people, sounds, and activities, then you will not be able to give your reading the full attention that you need to really absorb the information. You may be able to get away with this when reading just for fun, but for school reading or something you really want to remember- you will have a much easier time if you read in a quiet place.

Always Read First and Last (And Dialogue)
When I was in high school, I took a speed reading course. One of the main tips the teacher stated was that the most important information in a paragraph is usually contained in the first and last sentence. The same thing is true for fiction as well. Usually the first chapters and the last chapters contain a lot of the information you need to get the gist of the story. In a story, the dialogue often contains the important plot elements that move the story along.

If you pay more attention to these parts of the story, you are more likely to remember what is going on.

It helps to remember what you read if you can summarize the chapter. Imagine that you are going to be quizzed about the book, or that you have to teach someone what you just read without looking at the book. This will help you look for key points that you can use later to remember what the book was about.

Write Down Important Points
This is something I always do for book reviews. If there was a passage in the book that I particularly liked, I write it down; or if there are any important plot points that I want to be sure and remember.

For textbooks the same rules apply. Of course, they usually help you by bolding information that will be on a test!

Read it Out Loud
If you are an auditory learner (and sometimes even if you aren’t), reading something out loud makes it easier to remember what you read. You may feel a little silly doing it, but hearing something often helps it stick firmly in your brain. I find reading out loud particularly helpful when I am tired.

Those are the tips that I use to keep track of what I read. And as Marcel Proust would say, “remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were,” so don’t forget that!

What tricks do you use for remembering what you read?

Bio: My name is Brenda and I am a bookaholic. I devote most of my free time to reading books, reviewing books, talking about books, and thinking about books! Follow along in my reading adventures on Daily Mayo, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+


  1. These are such great tips! I have a horrible memory so I do the note-taking thing religiously. Otherwise my review would consist of "this book made me feel happy" or some other vague feely nonsense. ;)

  2. I make notes if something I want to remember happens. But I usually read one book at a time in three or four days and write a review on paper right after. This way it is still fresh.
    I really like the tip to read in a quiet spot. I read a lot while traveling and am glad I can tune out pretty easy because noise can really disturb your reading.

  3. Good tips :D

    Certain books I'll remember for the rest of my life. Others? I forget them 2 days after I'd done reading them. I think that speaks to what sort of books tend to stick with me...the great ones :D

  4. I write my reviews right away because details will slip from my mind quickly. I've found with nonfiction taking a few notes really helps me get across the most important parts as I read.

  5. Love this post! I definitely think that these tips will come in handy for monsters like Doctor Zhivago or Ulysses. I just wish I had read this post before reading Infinite Jest. :)

    Thanks for linking up with Spread the Love!

  6. Great tips! I'm trying to write my reviews within a day or two of finishing the book so that they're fresh in my mind. I often put it off for weeks, and then I can barely remember the story! Trying to fix that.

  7. These are helpful. I wish I could write reviews right after reading something but it just doesn't turn out that way. I take notes too and I love that the Kindle lets you highlight important quotes or setting details that trigger a response in me. For paper books, I've used a little note paper as a bookmark to be able to jot down important points and then write my overall summary/thoughts into a book journal until it finally makes it on to my blog. It works for now because I hate forgetting what a book was about or how it made me feel (or even the ending since I don't give spoilers on my blog).

    Thanks for sharing and the guest post!

    1. The highlight feature is what I love about Kindle too!

  8. Interesting! Sometimes if I am confused by something I will read it out loud, not for memory, but for comprehension. I would also love to take a speed reading class!!!!

  9. Glad you guys find these tips useful! I don't know where I would be without helpful memory-jogging tips. :-)

    --Brenda @DailyMayo

  10. This is so great. There are LOTS of books that I’ve read and couldn’t tell you a thing about them without looking it up on Goodreads. I usually remember if I like it or hate it but beyond that I’m lost.

  11. These are great tips! I sometimes find myself re-reading a page or 2 because I don't remember what I've read (not reading in quiet places), but the notes making is also something I've started to do, especially when a character is mentioned in the beginning and then again only at the end or middle. Same with when there's too many characters. Thanks for sharing your tips, Brenda.

  12. Great post, Brenda, and pleased to meet you :))
    I read out loud sometimes when I read in English, because it helps me with the pronuntiation, which is tricky for me! And I have never thought about summarizing chapter by chapter in novels (of course I do it in text books), so I will try!
    I agree that reading in a quite place is very important.

  13. Speed reading course greatly helps in improving the comprehension and concentration. From Rajmin Academy, you can get the best speed reading course in India at very reasonable prices.