I Can’t Remember What I Read  : You can improve your professional and personal lives by reading more. Reading has been credited to the success of many successful people, including Bill Gates, who reads 50 books a year, and Elon Musk, who reads the Encyclopedia Britannica every day when he was younger.

The main goal of reading is not only to expand your imagination, but possibly to increase your chances of getting promoted. Unfortunately, it’s hard to fit reading into our already hectic schedules, especially when we’re bombarded with so much content on a daily basis.

During a decade-old study, researchers found we’re exposed to 100,000 words every day. That was before we spent so many hours staring at our phones. So if we can’t spend more time reading, how can we maximize the time we have?

 The information in this guide will help you learn how to make the most of your reading time, by demonstrating how your brain processes information into long-term memories and what you can do before, during, and after you read.

Table of Contents

How your brain turns reading into memory (and why it doesn’t all the time)

Your brain can only store so much information and so must prioritize which ones are important and which should be used later. Reading more will do you no good if you don’t remember what you have read.

What is its decision-making process? The best way to think about this is through the example of High School English class.

While many people can recall the plot and characters of books they read in English class and maybe a few key scenes, they are not able to recall complete books just published a few months ago. Why is that?

But what’s more, you remember things because you had to. In class, you read for a purpose – to get a grade. You knew you needed to apply that knowledge somewhere and apply it to broader themes or ideas for a paper or quiz.

It is also no accident that your academic curriculum in High School was designed to augment what you were learning, so the more you read, the more knowledgeable you will become. Warren Buffett illustrates this point very effectively.

Before reading: Think about impression, association, and repetition

Memory is a pretty complicated subject and it goes far beyond just intent and purpose. Even if you pick up a book with the best of intentions, you can forget everything once you turn the last page.

In reality, if you want to make your reading stick, you have to hit three factors: Impression, association, and repetition.

Let’s look at each:

Impression: Choosing the right books

The human brain loves to merge experiences together to save energy (and space). Therefore, when reading, it needs to stand out. However, most of us tend to do two things wrong.

  1. Our reading material is influenced by what everyone else is reading.
  2. (Hello, sunk cost fallacy!) We force ourselves to read books we don’t want to read.

First, the publishing industry releases more than 50,000 books a year, in addition to the over one million blog posts, articles, and studies available on the web. Our reading needs are simply too great if we don’t curate our reading list.

It’s also a waste of time if you ignore the books you are not interested in. Studies have found that you’re more likely to retain an idea when it’s at the top of your mind.

Joseph Campbell advocates following the adage “The fewer the references, the better the book,” which helps you stick to primary sources.

For a slightly less scientific approach, Khe Hy at Quartz at Work suggests looking for books that are suggested by multiple groups of people. Hy prioritizes those book recommendations that come from three friends from three different professional circles.

Whenever all else fails, trust your gut. Pick books and articles you’re genuinely interested in. If you start falling asleep, or looking at your phone every couple of minutes, you may want to move on.

Association: Connecting the book to “your why”

What is the purpose of reading this book/article/study right now? If the reader is interested in the book’s subject, interest is the first part to remember what was read.

If you’re reading for general information, it’s fine. But if you’re trying to remember and apply what you’ve read, it’s best to tell yourself how you’ll use it.

Researchers gave two groups the same material to read in a study published in Memory & Cognition. One group was told that they would receive a test while the other was told they would need to teach someone the material they read.

The “teaching” group performed much better in the end, but the test was given to both groups, but the results were very close:

Repetition: Do a high-level skim (and don’t worry about the spoilers)

You should avoid this section if spoilers bother you. Our brains love novelty, but also pay careful attention to things we have done repeatedly in the past. That’s why skimming is great for the brain.

When Mortimer Adler wrote How to Read a Book, he explained that the first step in reading was what he calls the structural stage.

You should read the book cover-to-cover instead of just reaching for the first page, Adler advises. At a minimum, notate the following:

  • Is this book practical or theoretical?
  • What field of study does it address?
  • How is the book divided (not just the table of contents, but other divisions)?
  • What problems is the author trying to solve?

Read the prologue and random quotes in the book. Look at the citations or index and see what sources it draws on. In other words, get a feel for the book before buying it.

Sam Harris, a neuroscientist and author, says that “most books are too long” for skimming—he claims that we shouldn’t worry about the opportunity cost of reading unconventionally (lectures, blogs, etc…)

While reading: Commit to active reading, take better notes, and build connections

As children, we learned to read, but we were not taught what’s called ‘active reading’. Active reading is the process of reading in order to gain an understanding of and evaluate how to make effective use of the information on the page.

The reward for actively engaging with a book is greater than passive reading, when you just listen to the words. Although it takes more work, it is more deliberate and, if we’re being honest, slower.

Here are some tips for how to make the most of your time actually reading:

Commit to regular reading sessions and block distractions

It takes time and space to read actively. However, a Times magazine article reveals that Americans read, on average, just 19 minutes of reading a day. That number drops to 10 minutes or less for people younger than 34.

Several studies suggest people should spend at least 30 minutes a day reading, not only to expedite the reading process, but also to increase their attention span, develop deeper connections, and become more empathetic.

You can help yourself meet your reading goals by blocking out distractions like social media and entertainment sites when you are trying to read. 

Build mental connections while you read

Active reading includes creating associations between what you’re currently reading and your previous knowledge of the subject matter and how it relates to your life.

Whenever you read something new, try relating it to familiar memories as a way of creating a bond between the old and the new. This might mean pairing new ideas with things you already know or making use of acronyms).

For Farnam Street founder Shane Parrish, tally your readings while reading in order to make associations. Here’s how he describes his system.

After reading: Apply, explain, and revisit

By this point, you’ve done everything you can to consume, digest, and integrate the ideas you’ve read. But remember that our long-term memory relies on knowledge that is not just learned, but experienced too.

Whenever memories or thoughts come together with a different experience (reading a book, talking about it, seeing a friend and having a different perspective), they are recorded in the neocortex—a part of the brain that is much easier to recall.

When you finish reading a book, the task becomes applying that information in practice. Here are some tips:

Apply what you’ve read

You remember what you read in high school for reasons that go beyond the fact that you knew you would use it. You actually did. You wrote papers and completed tests and discussed the topic. You connected the ideas to big themes and new ideas. But is that what you do with what you read these days?

You can turn the study of books into memories by talking to friends about them, sharing your thoughts online or writing a synopsis and discussing them with people who aren’t familiar with the book. Any and all uses will help you create memories.

Explain it to someone else

Having to teach something makes it more likely for people to remember what they have read. But even better is teaching something to a child.

The Nobel physicist Richard Feynman thinks that the best way to really understand something is to explain it in the simplest, plainest terms possible. Short sentences. No jargon. Only common language. This limits your ability to mask your misunderstanding with excessive wordiness.

Revisit and organize your notes

While you explain and apply what you read, you’ll have moments when you’ll forget or be uncertain of what you’ve read. This is when it’s time to pull out all those notes and look them over again.

Then review your notes in the original source material to see what stands out to you. And then organize your notes in a simple story that becomes clear once you have read the book. Think of it as an elevator pitch: What are the most things you learned from this book in only 30 seconds?

Reading to remember is more work, but the results are worth it

While it can be easy to get distracted and make reading a less relaxing activity with all the urgent tasks we have to attend every day, these techniques can have compounding returns.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t choose a paperback and lose yourself in someone else’s world occasionally. But if you read to grow either personally or professionally, you should treat it more deliberately.

Reading, remembering, and connecting knowledge builds your knowledge base, so you become more confident, as well as more creative.

How To Speed Read Textbooks : I think we have to admit it – sometimes reading can be a bit boring, especially when you’re trying to get through that endless marathon of readings…

Often we want to listen to audiobooks as we go about our days, but since textbooks cannot be converted into audio, they would not be engaging in the slightest. 

Having said that, there are still lots of non-fiction books that are not quite creative enough to be turned into audiobooks, and there will always be times when you just want to read.

Reading for academic purposes, on the other hand, should NOT extend to 12 hours a day.

Read on for three techniques you can use to read effectively and efficiently. Put these to the test and you may find they become the saving grace during heavy exams, allowing you to maintain your grades, social life, and your sanity, all the while.


1. Speed reading…

If you need two minutes to read a page, limit yourself to one minute.

It comes in all shapes and sizes – from a zig-zag to an infinity symbol – and allows you to truly concentrate on your reading.

We’ll just cover the basics for the sake of this post.

We suggest you keep the sub-vocalization even though most speedreaders will recommend removing it in order to speed things up.

While we may not enjoy this type of reading as much as we would like, we might as well try.

  • Please get a pen.
  • Read it while dragging it along.
  • Let the pen lead the way once you get to know it.
  • You should move the pen at a speed you can keep up with but not faster than your ordinary speed.
  • Fast, normal, and slow up the scale.
  • You might want to do it in rounds (it’s easier to recover after a few cycles).

2. Photo reading

You’re probably wondering what the heck it is, so let us tell you…

The photo reading process involves flipping pages at about a page per second.

In fact, it taps into our subconscious minds, making you read a page at a time. Instead of just reading one line for one line, you scan an entire web page at a time.

What’s the biggest drawback? It’s hard to tell whether you’ve absorbed anything…but since it’s been shown to work 96 percent of the time, we think it’s definitely worth trying! What do you have to lose?

The result of this technique only becomes apparent after you’ve applied it. Your subconscious mind will recall what you’ve read.

3. Smart reading

We love this technique the most of all.

In using this method, you need to ask yourself: “What one thing do you hope to achieve from this book?””

You are required to focus in specific on the points you need to take from this book, because it was highlighted for a reason.

The following are the best points to check out with this in mind:

  • Front and back covers of the book
  • Its entire jacket must be visible if a hardcover
  • This is the table of contents.
  • The first chapter describes
  • In this last chapter

Check out the entire text and select the chapter that stands out from the rest. Do you know the topics of your test or coursework? If not, you’re in trouble.

You were drawn to it in the first place because it is that “golden nugget of detail” in the book.

If you bought a book, you may have an inner voice telling you to read it from cover to cover but in reality that’s not true. The rules came from somewhere you don’t know. 

Where does a textbook covering 1954 to 1968 serve if there is already a textbook covering 1954 to 1960?’

It’s not about being a book hoarder and ignoring the last chapters, it is about being efficient and learning what really matters. After all, overloaded brains are ineffective study techniques, the study technique of overloading the brain. 

Since you don’t have time to tranfer knowledge from your short- to long-term memory stores, you end up taking information in one ear and putting it out the other. That is how learning happens when you are trying to cram it all in all at once.

Read one section before returning to the entire book, unless you intend to sell the book after reading it.

These are all extremely creative, efficient, and time-efficient ways to absorb knowledge and have fun doing it. Instead of digging up your entire backyard to find gold, you can use a metal detector and then dig deep to find it, saving both your time and money.

Books are the most versatile knowledge resources that have ever been created. How fortunate we are to be able to learn from those who lived before us with the condensed experience they share on paper, which can also be consumed for less than $20 in under six hours, says a lot. Also read Read like a Lawyer

Digital Reading vs Print Reading  : Sign up for our newsletter to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox. The Hechinger Report is a national nonprofit newsroom that reports on one topic: education.
In her new motherhood period, when juggling diapers and feedings with the demands of an academic life, Virginia Clinton fell in love with digital texts. “I have warm and fuzzy memories of rocking my babies to sleep while reading on my phone,” Clinton said.
Professor Clinton had urged her students at the University of North Dakota to buy cheap digital versions or use free online learning materials. She was a research expert in reading comprehension (as opposed to mastering the mechanics of reading on paper).
Although many of her students told her they preferred paper, Clinton decided to dig into 33 studies that tested reading comprehension after students were given either screen or paper to read on. She discovered that her students may be right.
Studies have shown that when students read the material on paper rather than on their electronic devices, they tend to retain more. This holds particularly true when it comes to nonfiction assignments. “Sometimes you should print it out, particularly when it is long,” said Clinton.
“It’s enough benefit that it’s worth the cost of the book and the paper and ink,” Clinton said.

Based on averaging the studies, the benefit for reading with paper was rather small, Clinton explained. Still, 29 of the 33 laboratory studies showed that readers learn more when reading on paper.

Now, Clinton’s analysis is at some point the third study to synthesize reputable research on reading comprehension in the digital age and conclude that paper reading is superior. Previous studies prior to this one include the University of Maryland research in 2017 and the University of Spain and Israel meta-analyses of 2018. 

Studies from the international testing community came to a similar conclusion, that paper beat screens by more than half a standard deviation. (Scholars disagree over the interpretation of standard deviations. It’s not a significant advantage in controlled laboratory tests.)

In July 2019, Pearson, the largest textbook publisher in North America, announced it was transitioning to a digital-first approach where books will still be rented, but will be available for purchase for much higher prices, fewer updates, and limited availability.

The recommendations for students to save money also run counter to the reading research. According to a July report by the National Association of College Stores, 22 percent of college students are using free online course materials, up from 3 percent in 2015. Thanks to free online texts, overall material expenditures have decreased.

For proponents of digital texts, there are plenty of criticisms in the new research. The studies included in Hillary Clinton’s analysis do not allow students to take advantage of the extra features, bells, and whistles offered by digital texts. 

Digital textbooks offer students options not available to paper books. This allows students to highlight passages and take notes in the digital text.

“I’m not fair to screens because their features weren’t what they could be,” said Clinton. “They weren’t even ‘perfect,'” she said.

Clinton is planning to test reading comprehension with digital add-ons in her lab to see if digital texts produce better results than paper texts. There are still no convincing studies that show these effects for reading comprehension with digital add-ons.

What explains why students read on screens worse than on paper is a fascinating question. Some experts think the flicker and glare of screens causes a higher mental load. Others argue that the spatial memory for the location of a passage or chart on paper will help students remember facts. 

The distraction of digital distractions and the ability to multitask or browse is a valid issue in the real world. However, in the controlled conditions of the experiments, internet browsing or app checking was not allowed.

The Maryland researchers thought that e-readers were making the process of reading a lot quicker than you would do it on a paper book. However, Clinton found no difference in the amount of reading time to be done on e-books and print book.

However, Clinton suspects the problem might be one of rampant self-delusion on the part of screen reader users. In many lab studies, readers rated themselves on the accuracy of their reading comprehension. Screen readers consistently underestimated their comprehension. Paper readers were more accurate.

Clinton stated that excessive confidence in screen readers is important because those who overestimate their abilities are likely to make fewer efforts. The less effort a person makes, the less likely they are to comprehend a reading passage. This is because comprehension, like all learning, is hard, and takes effort.

Aside from genre, age is also important. In Clinton’s study, which separated out the topics of fiction and nonfiction, there were no benefits to paper over screens. So go ahead and read Jane Austen on your Kindle.) But the advantages for text on paper are clear.

In what way can educators and parents take advantage of this? That will depend on the students’ age. For college students, Clinton suggests picking the format they personally prefer. For most, that means paper.

Clinton suggests professors take extra time to teach students how to read a digital text efficiently by, for example, constantly checking their comprehension as they read.

Teachers of elementary and high school don’t have the capability to give their students a tangible and digital version of their text they’re reading. When this is the case, Clinton suggests that teachers require students to “describe what they’re reading.”

I would prefer both types of media to be available in the classroom, so kids can develop screen and technology skills, as well as learning and receiving help from paper for developing reading skills.

As a parent, her advice to parents is to remember that children can benefit from reading in either format. Clinton writes that to motivate kids to read more, e-books can offer games and rewards.

Children need to learn how to use screens responsibly in order to get the full benefit out of them both at home and at school, according to Clinton.

Clinton himself remains a screen reader in the meantime. “I don’t like paper,” he said, “because I seem to lose it.” Also read One Way to Make a Business Message Easier to Read Is to

One Way to Make a Business Message Easier to Read Is to  : You have carefully crafted each sentence. You click the “publish” button, only to discover that your article does not appear.

Nobody reads them. No comments, no tweets, no sharing on Facebook.

This is enough to ruin the motivation of writers to keep creating great content and to ruin writer’s self esteem.

Are you expecting to need 10,000 hours to perfect your writing skills? Possibly not.

Write less since it will be easier to read, and style your words so they’re easier to read. That will help you get your reader’s attention.

Impatient searchers

Researchers at Jakob Nielsen’s seminal 1997 web usability study found that 79 percent of website visitors scan rather than read.

Consider how you use the internet. You search for information. If what you are looking for is nowhere to be found on the page you are visiting, you click away and look elsewhere.

A web page is designed to be viewed “leaning forward” whereas a TV show is made to be viewed “sitting back”.

Is there anything you can do to engage your readers to achieve higher engagement rates, so as to keep them on your site, and to keep them engaged with your content?

Make it snappy

For web writing to be successful, you need to be willing to put some of your English composition knowledge to rest.

It is increasingly common for people to scan web pages rather than read them in detail, so instead of fighting it, accept it.

Covering a complex topic may require you to make several posts.

If you serve content in portion-controlled sizes, it’s easy for readers to digest the content, and you keep them coming back for more.

Paragraphs should be written in an inverted-pyramid format.

This means that you must begin by stating your conclusion, then answer the question and provide examples to back up your contention. This will help scanners move from point to point and decide if they want to go deeper.

Make your content even more user-friendly by using these simple design techniques.

We can turn a long and overwhelming sentence into a sentence that grabs the reader’s attention and draws them in.

1. Embrace the line break

Making your content readable is much easier than you might think.

By simply introducing many white spaces, it can be possible to make even complex content much more reader-friendly.

You should feature one idea in each paragraph; the sentence length should not exceed three sentences.

Additionally, write some paragraphs that have only one sentence.

2. Break up your content with compelling subheads

Readers need to be enticed by a strong headline (and therefore a strong premise) before they actually check you out.

Having an engaging subhead keeps your readers interested, acting as a “mini headline” to keep them reading.

Your subheads need to be captivating as well as informational. Web readers are well-versed in what constitutes “BS,” so don’t exaggerate for fear of losing credibility. “Compelling” does not mean “hypey.”

Review your subheads once you’ve written them so that readers/scanners know what they can expect from the first part of your article.

Will they be able to remember your information if there is a compelling story?

3. Create bulleted lists

  • Their captivating style enthralls your readers.
  • Using them makes presenting multiple points much easier.
  • Providing visual breaks for your reader, they provide a visual break from your text.

4. Use “deep captions”

Researchers have found the captions of images to be consistently the most-read material on a given page.

Put the image next to a “deep caption” if you need to.

The deep caption contains a couple of sentences. That’s enough to intrigue your readers to read the whole article.

5. Add relevant and helpful links

Content that links back to your own top-level material will keep people on your site and reading your best content.

The external links and references demonstrate that you’ve done your research and wish to cite experts in the field.

Your content should use both of these approaches to expand your reader’s understanding and add value.

Moreover, internal links save you from having to worry about being scraped (copied and pasted) onto other sites without attribution.

6. Highlight content strategically

With bolding important concepts, your reader will be able to skim through your essay quickly and quickly recognize the most important information.

The same effect comes from highlighting everything, which the same effect comes from not highlighting anything.

Instead of highlighting these points, you should make sure that the scanner can quickly pick them out.also read Read like a Lawyer

7. Harness the power of numbers

Feel that numbered list posts are tiresome? Think again.

Making posts more inviting with numbers, engaging the reader, and keeping the reader on track is a great way to ensure the post’s success.

A post can be more persuasive just by numbering its main points. Give it a try.

8. Check your formatting to turn scanners into readers

When you have used subheadings, numbers, bulleted lists, and other formatting to highlight key points in your entry, go back and read only the content that you’ve called attention to.

Is the gist clear to you?

Choose the most interesting and relevant words from the document — those that will draw your scanner in and convert her to a reader.

Read like a Lawyer : Law students (and a future lawyer) must read as much as possible. That said, many people think that if you don’t like reading you won’t enjoy being a lawyer. While I understand the point, I have to disagree.

I generally enjoy reading but do not enjoy reading cases, legislation or other legal materials. What I have realized, perhaps too late in my journey throughout law school, is that reading for law is very different from reading for pleasure.

I’ve found that reading cases can be just as captivating as reading a good novel although they aren’t a very efficient way to study or work. If you’re anything like me you enjoy being captivated and drawn into the storyline of a good book.
To help you out, I’ve done a list of quizzes and tips for reading more efficiently and effectively.



A good first step in reading is understanding the text you’re reading. If you’re reading legislation, it’s obvious every word matters, but if you’re reading a transcript or a journal article, you might approach reading the text differently.


Thinking about why you’re reading the text will help you determine the reading strategy you should employ. You may choose to do weekly readings for class discussion or to prepare notes for an exam.


There are two parts to this question: when are you required to read it by and when are the best times to read it? Knowing your deadlines and prioritizing your reading assignments are crucial to tackling the daunting number of required readings required in law school.

A similar consideration is knowing the best time of day to read. For example, you cannot start reading at 6AM when you are not an early bird. Set aside some time for reading during the day when you are most productive. Consistency is your best guide.


You can enforce some concentration by choosing a place to read that is suitable for you. I personally prefer to read in a park or a café, or in the park away from students. If you are unsure where works for you, try out a few places.

Preview the text

Previewing is a good way to get a general feeling for the text’s content without diving into the text. Use the table of contents, headings, the abstract, and chapter summaries to determine what the text is all about and which parts of the text are of interest to you.
If useful abstracts or summaries are unavailable, reading the first and last paragraph of each section or the first and last line of each paragraph can provide some insight.


The skimming method helps in searching for important information that is explained in the body of the text. Skimming involves staring quickly over the text and searching for formatting, such as italics, bolding or underlining, that might indicate this important information.


Scanning, or just scanning, is a reading technique that involves using a pointer and slowing down the speed at which you read. This is the technique I use the most, and it really helps me to focus my reading and speed mine up.

Before scanning, you first need to know why you are reading the document and what you’re looking for. Having this in mind, scan the document looking for key words. Stop as soon as you have found them and read through the document carefully before taking any notes.

I hope these tips will help you to read more efficiently and effectively. There’s definitely more to it than that, but finding strategies and strategies that work for you is ultimately what matters most. Happy reading!