Read and Retain

[Please note that this page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.]

Read and retain – the more you read, the more you will retain.

The reason people read is to process the text to comprehend the intended meaning of the piece of writing.

Read and Retain

Meaning reading is more than just going over a series of words. For example, most speed reading is done where people quickly skim over the words but lose comprehension.

There are helpful speed reading methods to balance skimming and still understand.

The average adult reads at about 200 – 400 words a minute (WMP); speed readers claim they can read into the 1000’s words a minute. But speed reading doesn’t mean you will retain the information better.

Speed readers say they utilize peripheral vision.

Acuity is highest in the eye part called the fovea, which is almost directly in the middle of the eyeball.

The fovea cannot interpret words outside of its primary focus. It’s impossible to focus on one word and read the surrounding text with peripheral vision.

Therefore, reading is limited by your ability to identify and understand terms rather than seeing them. Meaning reading faster will have a reduction in incomprehension.

To better comprehend what you are reading, it is vital to slow down to read better and retain your information.

There are various speed-reading techniques people can learn far more than just the benefit of reading quicker.

A slower method may be better than a faster one if you want to read a fiction novel or other material faster for enjoyment.

On the other hand, if you read and retain a textbook for school or read research papers/journals and understand the science, a slower speed method works best.

There are different ways to read and retain depending on the goal of what the reader’s intentions are.

The Most Effective Reading Techniques:

  1. Once your goal is determined, it will help you figure out the balance between how fast you want to read and how much you want to comprehend. For example, if you’re reading for fun, you don’t need as much comprehension to read faster. But on the other hand, reading a scientific paper or textbook will require more understanding, thus lowering the reader’s speed.
  2. You have to be prepared to adjust your reading speed appropriately as there will be segments easily digestible where the reader can fly through them. When it is more challenging, like learning new concepts and ideas, the reader will be forced to slow down to understand the word’s meaning. You will be changing the speed at which you read from moment to moment. It’s important to remember the first and last sentences of a paragraph hold the most value and information. If you get lost in a middle of a section, try focusing more on comprehending the first and last sentences.
  3. Use a pacer like your finger or a pen. Run the pacer below each line from end-to-end, well, having your eyes follow it along. Doing this pacer technique alone will enhance your reading speed and comprehension simultaneously. The idea is to find the Goldie Locks zone or the sweet spot to push your comfort zone boundaries, losing minimal comprehension.

Tips for Reading and Retaining Textbooks:

  • Pre-read section headings, bold terms, and vocabulary terms to save time in the long run.
  • Skip paragraphs or entire sections that are not of importance.
  • Focus on bolded words and sections, as well as surrounding context.
  • For a much higher retention rate, it’s good to stop after a page or a section to paraphrase it in your own words. Writing it out in point form, explaining it to a classmate or friend, and even saying it out loud to yourself will allow for a higher retention rate.

Tips for Reading and Retaining Research Articles:

  • Read over the Abstract carefully and slowly to get the point of what the paper is about to know where to allocate your time.
  • Make predetermined goals when approaching each section.
  • Skim the Intro, Methods, and Results sections to get the brief points.
  • Spend the majority of the time on the Discussion/Conclusion section.

Tips for Reading and Retain for Fun like Fiction:

  • If you want to enjoy a novel, slow down a bit.
  • Speed up to get to the main points of the story.
  • Reading for pleasure has no right or wrong speed; it is up to reading.

Dean Mathers


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *