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Eight Tips To Understand and Remember What You Read — Especially As You Read Nonfiction

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Despite Insta­gram, YouTube, Face­book, Twit­ter, and tele­vi­sion, (or per­haps pre­cise­ly because of all of them) tra­di­tion­al read­ing is still an impor­tant skill. Whether it is mag­a­zines, pro­fes­sion­al man­u­als or fas­ci­nat­ing books, peo­ple still need to read, now and in years ahead. And much of it is non­fic­tion mate­r­i­al, where it’s impor­tant to real­ly under­stand and then remem­ber what you are read­ing.

An unfor­tu­nate rea­son why many peo­ple don’t read much these days is that they don’t read well. Read­ing, for them, is slow, hard work and they don’t remem­ber as much as they should. They often have to read some­thing sev­er­al times before they under­stand and remem­ber what they read.

Why? You would think that every­one learns how to read well at school. Schools do try, but I work with mid­dle-school teach­ers and they tell me that many stu­dents are 2–3 years behind grade lev­el in read­ing pro­fi­cien­cy. Some of the blame can be placed on fads for teach­ing read­ing, such as phon­ics and “whole lan­guage,” which some­times are pro­mot­ed in shal­low ways that don’t respect the need for both approach­es. And much of the blame can be laid at the feet of par­ents who set poor exam­ples and, of course, on the young­sters who are too dis­tract­ed by social media and tele­vi­sion to learn how to read well.

Now the good news. For any­one who missed out on good read­ing skills, it is not too late to improve now. I sum­ma­rize below what I think it takes to read with good speed and com­pre­hen­sion. Read the rest of this entry »

Is your smartphone frying your brain? (Nope…but we better prevent constant distractions)

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Is Your iPhone Real­ly Fry­ing Your Brain? Five Things You Need To Know (Forbes):

…since the announce­ment of the first iPhone ten years ago this week, con­cerns about devices turn­ing their users into mind­less drones seem to have reached a fever pitch. So is the inter­net real­ly bad for your brain? Here’s what we know…“The aver­age IQ of the pop­u­la­tion at large has been increas­ing every 10 years,” says Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, who runs Sharp Brains, an applied neu­ro­science com­pa­ny. “IQ is not the only thing that mat­ters, but if some­thing was very, very harm­ful for our brains, we would have already noticed it there.”

(but)

We have to be very care­ful with chil­dren,” Alvaro con­cedes. “[Smart devices] can cre­ate an addic­tion if they are exposed too ear­ly. Adults also have to pre­vent con­stant dis­trac­tions.”

To learn more:

Retooling brain health care with pervasive, inexpensive, data-driven digital technologies

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While sophis­ti­cat­ed neu­roimag­ing tech­niques such as fMRI (func­tion­al mag­net­ic res­o­nance imag­ing) pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant boost in our under­stand­ing of the brain — and research stud­ies con­stant­ly report­ed all over the media — they are very cost­ly. This makes it dif­fi­cult to reach the mass scale required to con­duct mean­ing­ful research and to improve the brain health care of mil­lions if not bil­lions of peo­ple around the globe.

Good news is, Read the rest of this entry »

How to improve memory skills and remember what you read: Beyond phonics and “whole language”

Horizontal Stacked BooksDespite the increas­ing visu­al media we are increas­ing­ly exposed to, read­ing is still an impor­tant skill. Whether it is school text­books, online news­pa­pers or reg­u­lar books, peo­ple still read, though not as much as they used to. One rea­son that many peo­ple don’t read much is that they don’t read well. For them, Read the rest of this entry »

Harnessing brain training games to better research, prevent and treat Alzheimer’s Disease

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Brain Train­ing Data­base: Trea­sure Trove for Pre­clin­i­cal Alzheimer’s Research? (Alz­fo­rum):

Some researchers think brain games in general—which adapt to each user’s cog­ni­tive ability—may one day serve as cog­ni­tive diag­nos­tics to Read the rest of this entry »

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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