Auditory reinforcement: Study finds reading aloud to yourself helps you retain information

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Image: Auditory reinforcement: Study finds reading aloud to yourself helps you retain information

(Natural News) Most people find it difficult to retain certain information. In preparation for tests and examinations, each student works out their own ways to remember important details. While some find it easy to retain information, others may think of it as a difficult process. It may seem so simple, but reading information aloud will help you memorize things easier, according to a study published in the Memory journal.

Instead of memorizing silently, speaking words aloud promotes better long-term memory of information. Learning and memory benefits more from active involvement, in this case, speaking out the words instead of reading silently. Professor Colin MacLeod, co-author of the study and chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo, says that learning and memorization become easier tasks when activity is involved in the process. Dr. Noah Forrin, lead author of the study, adds that when we perform an active measure or “production” element to a word, the word then becomes distinct and is more memorable.

The study involved 95 students from the university, divided randomly into four groups. Each group had a specific method for learning written information, including: Reading silently; hearing someone else read; listening to a recording of himself reading; and reading aloud in real time. The findings show that the group who read aloud had the most success in retaining and remembering information. The study builds on previous researches by professor MacLeod, Dr. Forrin, and other colleagues involved in measuring the production effects of activities in enhancing memory.


There are many ways to retain something in memory, but not all of the techniques will work for each person. While reading out loud helps a lot, you can’t really do it all the time, especially if you’re in a library. Consider the following techniques in enhancing your information retention.

  • Take an interest in it – One of the best ways to remember that mathematical formula is to be interested in it. When you like doing something, the easier it is for your brain to work on keeping it in its memory locker.
  • Use your creative side – Create a mental picture (or just draw a picture) of the word you are trying to memorize. Seeing a visual reference of the word you’re trying to remember will help your brain associate it to an object faster, therefore improving the rate at which you remember the word.
  • Interconnect the information – If, for example, you’re memorizing a large list of words, try to connect them with each other. You can build a network or a web of words that are related to each other. With that sort of visualization, remembering one word will result in remembering the words in its “web.”
  • Real life associations – Relate the information you’re learning to real-life experiences or something that you picture the word to be related to. For example, you can associate the word “breeze” with your summer trip to the beach.
  • Use your hands – Some people find it easier to memorize words by writing them down – not once, not twice, but several times. Writing down the word, spelling it letter for letter helps you get that familiar feeling of writing the word itself in relation to its description. Practice this by asking yourself a question and write down the answers that come to mind.
  • Summarize – When trying to remember long paragraphs, try writing a summary of each bunch of sentences into just one. Summarizing means taking the concepts and reiterating them for emphasis.
  • Get those Zs – Spending time to read may be productive, but getting enough sleep at night is also important. Sleep serves as the lock for your memory storage, securing that you retain what you learned the night before.

Memorizing something may be a difficult task, but there are many workarounds for it. All you have to understand is that saying words out loud may help you increase your rate of memorizing things, and associating the words to images or experiences will retain it.


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