How to Understand and Remember What You Read


How to Understand and Remember What You Read

Reading is an important skill that helps us learn, discover new things, and see the world differently. But just reading isn't enough. It's also important to understand and remember what we read. Whether we're studying for a test, reading a story for fun, or learning about something complicated, it's crucial to be able to understand and remember the information.

Understanding what we read means more than just reading the words. It means actively engaging with the material. When we understand what we read, we can think about it, make connections, and really learn from it. It helps us become better learners and understand things more completely.

In this blog post, we will explore some helpful strategies to improve your understanding and memory when you read. By using these techniques, you'll be able to understand information better and remember important ideas for a longer time.


Before you start reading, it's helpful to get ready for the reading experience. By getting prepared and having a clear purpose, you can understand and remember what you read better.

Setting goals and expectations

It's useful to have clear goals and expectations when you read. Think about what you want to get from reading the material. Do you want to understand the main ideas, find specific details, or analyze arguments and evidence?

Having goals helps you focus on what's important and gives you a reason to pay attention. It makes you an active reader, which helps you understand and remember more.

Also, it's important to have realistic expectations. Not every piece of information is equally important, and some parts may be harder than others. Understanding this can help you approach the text with the right mindset and adjust your reading strategies.

Previewing the text to understand the main ideas and structure

One good strategy is to quickly look through the text before you start reading it in detail. Spend a few minutes skimming through the material to get an idea of what it's about and how it's organized. Look at the titles, headings, and any text that stands out, like bold or highlighted words.


Asking questions and making predictions

One helpful way to really get into a text is by asking yourself questions as you read. Before starting a new section, think about what you already know and what you want to learn. By asking questions, you give yourself a reason to read and find answers.

Another good technique is to make predictions based on the titles, headings, and the beginning of the text. Predictions use what you already know to guess what might come next. It makes reading more interesting and exciting.

Highlighting, underlining, and note-taking (annotating)

When you read, it can be helpful to interact with the text physically. You can use a highlighter or underline important points, details, or things you need to pay attention to. It helps you remember the important stuff and makes it easier to review later.

Taking notes while you read is also a great way to understand better. Write down key ideas, summaries, or your own thoughts. Your notes become your personal reference that you can go back to later.

Summarizing and explaining in your own words

After you read a section or chapter, take a moment to summarize the main points using your own words. Summarizing means picking out the most important ideas and saying them in a shorter way. It helps you remember what you read and shows you if you understood it well.

You can also try explaining specific parts or ideas in your own words. It means saying the same thing using different words. It helps you really understand the information. When you can explain it to someone else, it means you truly get it.

Creating pictures in your mind

Making pictures in your mind as you read is a powerful way to understand. Try to imagine what things look like or how they work based on the words in the text.

When you make these mental pictures, it makes the ideas more real and easier to remember. It also helps you see how different ideas fit together. This technique helps you understand and remember more because our brains like to work with pictures.

Connecting with what you already know

Connecting what you're reading to what you already know is a great strategy. Think about how it relates to what you already understand or think about how it connects to things that have happened to you.

By making these connections, you create links between new information and what you already know. It helps you understand better by building on what you already understand. It also makes the information more interesting and easier to remember because it's more meaningful to you.

Taking breaks to avoid getting tired and improve focus

Reading for a long time without breaks can make you tired and make it harder to concentrate, which can affect how well you remember things. To help you remember better, take regular breaks while you read.

Taking short breaks gives your mind a chance to rest and process what you just read. Use these breaks to do something different or just relax. When you give your brain time to think about and remember the information, it helps you remember it better.

Reviewing and going back to what you read

Looking over what you read regularly is important for moving information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. After you finish reading, set aside some time to review what you learned. You can go back to your notes, summaries, or the important points you marked.

Talking about it and teaching others to help you remember

Talking about what you read or teaching someone else what you learned is a great way to help you understand and remember it better. When you explain things to others, you have to organize your thoughts, explain important ideas, and give examples.

By teaching or discussing what you read, you are actively using your memory to remember the information. This strengthens your understanding and makes it easier for you to remember the information later.

Using tricks to help you remember (Mnemonic Devices)

Tricks or tools called mnemonic devices can help you remember things more easily. They create connections in your mind that make it easier to recall information later.

■ Acronyms: Acronyms are made by taking the first letter of each word and making a new word or phrase. By making an acronym, you can remember a list of things in a certain order.

■ Rhymes and catchy phrases: Rhymes and catchy phrases can also help you remember things. By connecting the information to a rhyme or catchy phrase, it sticks in your mind better.

■ Memory palace technique: This technique involves associating information with places you know well in your mind. Imagine a place you're familiar with, like your house, and link the information to different rooms or things in that place. As you imagine walking through the space, you can remember the information connected to each location.

■ Chunking: Chunking means grouping pieces of information together to make them easier to remember. Instead of trying to remember a long list of unrelated things, break them down into smaller groups or categories. This helps your brain organize the information, making it easier to remember.



Using the techniques in your own reading routine

Make sure to use the strategies we've discussed regularly when you read. Consistency is important to develop good habits and see improvements. Set aside specific time for active reading, taking notes, and interacting with the text. By using these strategies consistently, they will become natural to you, and you'll notice improvements in how well you understand and remember what you read.

Creating a schedule for reviewing what you've learned

In addition to using the strategies while you read, create a schedule for reviewing what you've learned. Regularly revisiting the material is important for reinforcing your memory. Dedicate time each week to go over what you've read, summarize the main points, and test your understanding. By spacing out your review sessions, you'll strengthen your memory and make the information stick in your long-term memory.

Trying different approaches and adapting the techniques

Remember that everyone learns in their own way, so it's important to experiment with the techniques and adjust them to fit your own learning style. Not all strategies will work equally well for you, and that's okay. Be open to trying different methods and making changes as needed. Pay attention to what works best for you in terms of understanding and remembering. This process of trying new things and adapting them will help you discover the strategies that work best for you.

Finding support and staying accountable

If possible, find someone to hold you accountable or join a study group to help you stay motivated and committed to using these techniques. Share your progress, discuss what you've read with others, and get feedback. Having conversations about the material you've read can deepen your understanding and memory. Look for people who are interested in the same subjects and create opportunities to learn and discuss together.



Understanding and remembering what you read is an important skill that can make learning easier and help you gain more knowledge. By using the techniques we've discussed and practicing them regularly, you can make reading more enjoyable and effective.

Just keep in mind that these strategies take time and effort to master. It may feel challenging at first, but don't give up. With practice and perseverance, you will get better at using these techniques in your reading routine. By actively participating in your reading, using helpful methods, and adjusting them to fit your own style of learning, you will become a more skilled reader.


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