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8 Tips To Remember What You Read

Horizontal Stacked BooksDespite tele­vi­sion, cell phones, and Twit­ter, tra­di­tion­al read­ing is still an impor­tant skill. Whether it is school text­books, mag­a­zines, 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, it is slow, hard work and they don’t remem­ber as much as they should. Stu­dents, for example,may have to read some­thing sev­er­al times before they under­stand and remem­ber what they read.

Why? You would think that schools teach kids how to read well. Schools do try. I work with mid­dle-school teach­ers and they tell me that many stu­dents are 2–3 years behind grade lev­el in read­ing pro­fi­cien­cy. No doubt, tele­vi­sion, cell phones, and the Web are major con­trib­u­tors to this prob­lem, which will appar­ent­ly get worse if we don’t empha­size and improve read­ing instruc­tion.

Some of the blame can be placed on the fads in read­ing teach­ing, such as phon­ics and “whole lan­guage,” which some­times are pro­mot­ed by zealots who don’t respect the need for both approach­es. Much of the blame for poor read­ing skills can be laid at the feet of par­ents who set poor exam­ples and, of course, on the young­sters who are too lazy to learn how to read well.

For all those who missed out on good read­ing skills, it is not too late. I sum­ma­rize below what I think it takes to read with good speed and com­pre­hen­sion.

  1. Read with a pur­pose.
  2. Skim first.
  3. Get the read­ing mechan­ics right.
  4. Be judi­cious in high­light­ing and note tak­ing.
  5. Think in pic­tures.
  6. Rehearse as you go along.
  7. Stay with­in your atten­tion span and work to increase that span.
  8. Rehearse again soon.

1) Know Your Pur­pose

Every­one should have a pur­pose for their read­ing and think about how that pur­pose is being ful­filled dur­ing the actu­al read­ing. The advan­tage for remem­ber­ing is that check­ing con­tin­u­ous­ly for how the pur­pose is being ful­filled helps the read­er to stay on task, to focus on the more rel­e­vant parts of the text, and to rehearse con­tin­u­ous­ly as one reads. This also saves time and effort because rel­e­vant items are most attend­ed.

Iden­ti­fy­ing the pur­pose should be easy if you freely choose what to read. Just ask your­self, “Why am I read­ing this?” If it is to be enter­tained or pass the time, then there is not much prob­lem. But myr­i­ad oth­er rea­sons could apply, such as:

  • to under­stand a cer­tain group of peo­ple, such as Mus­lims, Jews, Hin­dus, etc.
  • to crys­tal­lize your polit­i­cal posi­tion, such as why a giv­en gov­ern­ment pol­i­cy should be opposed.
  • to devel­op an informed plan or pro­pos­al.
  • to sat­is­fy a require­ment of an aca­d­e­m­ic course or oth­er assigned read­ing.

Many of us have read­ings assigned to us, as in a school envi­ron­ment. Or the boss may hand us a man­u­al and say Read the rest of this entry »

Grand Rounds 5:12 — Healthcare Reform Q&A

If Dr. Rob can inter­view San­ta, why can’t I inter­view a select group of health & med­ical blog­gers? They will have some good ideas to share”.

So did Pres­i­dent-elect Oba­ma came to real­ize a few days ago. After his peo­ple kind­ly con­tact­ed our peo­ple, we felt com­pelled to grant him open access to our col­lec­tive wis­dom. With­out fur­ther ado, below you have Grand Rounds 5:12 — a Q&A ses­sion led by the incom­ing Pres­i­dent on how to reform (for the bet­ter, we hope) health­care.

On Health Insur­ance

Q:  How does the blo­gos­phere per­ceive the prob­lem of hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant group of peo­ple unin­sured?

Health Insur­ance Col­orado: a grow­ing eco­nom­ic bur­den, which may lead to emer­gency rooms turn­ing peo­ple away if they are unable to pro­vide proof of health insur­ance.

Dr Rich: well, a recent arti­cle in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion showed how over­crowd­ing in Amer­i­can emer­gency rooms is NOT due to the unin­sured. Rather, it is due to insured Amer­i­cans who can­not get in to see their pri­ma­ry care physi­cians. We may need improved care both for the insured and unin­sured groups.

Insure­Blog: I’d sec­ond that. Lack of health insur­ance is a major prob­lem but is it real­ly our Biggest Prob­lem?

It’s All about Atti­tude

Q: You may have heard my cam­paign mantra, “Yes We Can”. Can I count on your sup­port?

ButY­ouDont­Look­Sick: Yes. If Leslie Hunt can talk so open­ly about her chron­ic ill­ness (Lupus) yet ful­fill her Amer­i­can Idol dreams, we can ful­fill our dreams too.

Notes of an Anes­the­sioboist: you are talk­ing to the group of pro­fes­sion­als will­ing to self-exper­i­ment with our own body for the ben­e­fit of sci­ence and our patients.

Med­views: My wife, son, and I signed up to work as med­ical vol­un­teers for your upcom­ing inau­gu­ra­tion.

Emergi­Blog: I am on board too. But, please, remem­ber that car­ing is the essence of nurs­ing. And that is why my patients will always be my patients and nev­er my  clients.

Neu­roan­thro­pol­o­gy: Mr. Pres­i­dent-elect, it seems to me that, despite all our good inten­tions, bal­anc­ing the bud­get and mul­ti­ple com­pet­ing pri­or­i­ties will be a chal­lenge. May I sug­gest you start prac­tic­ing some capoeira for equi­lib­ri­um train­ing?

Shrink Rap: Hap­py to help. Now, we will need to pro­tect some time for qual­i­ty sleep time.

Train­ing

Q: I am encour­aged by your words. How can my team and I bet­ter sup­port you in your dai­ly activ­i­ties?

Aequa­nim­i­tas: we need more role mod­els for us to “learn to think, observe, and com­pare” and that the patient is our “first, last, and only teacher”.

Mud­phud­der: Couldn’t agree more. We need Read the rest of this entry »

Philosophy as the Missing Link in Our School’s Curriculum

A read­er and writer sent us over the week­end the arti­cle below as “an OpEd sub­mis­sion”. We are not a news­pa­per, and don’t have a for­mal OpEd sec­tion, but are delight­ed to pub­lish thought­ful, research-based pieces on top­ics relat­ed to life­long cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment and health.

Here you are:

—-

Phi­los­o­phy as the Miss­ing Link An Eye-Open­ing Audit of Our School’s Cur­ricu­lum
By: Kim­ber­ly Wick­ham

The ques­tion might be asked, “Why would any­one want to teach phi­los­o­phy to pre-ado­les­cent chil­dren?” but there are very good rea­sons why one might want to take on such a lofty task. I am not sug­gest­ing that the his­to­ry of phi­los­o­phy would be par­tic­u­lar­ly per­ti­nent for a young child to learn, but there is sub­stan­tial evi­dence to sup­port the devel­op­ment of an already nat­ur­al ten­den­cy towards philo­soph­i­cal thought. Some may think that the pre-ado­les­cents haven’t got the cog­ni­tive devel­op­men­tal abil­i­ty to wrap their minds around such an elu­sive and sub­jec­tive study as phi­los­o­phy. How­ev­er, devel­op­ing this skill has shown long term pos­i­tive effects. These effects range from devel­op­ing crit­i­cal think­ing skills and cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty to rais­ing emo­tion­al matu­ri­ty and encour­ag­ing the child’s sense of secu­ri­ty with­in his or her world.

For years there has been an empha­sis on cog­ni­tive and phys­i­cal aspects of chil­drens devel­op­ment, but recent­ly more atten­tion is being placed on both the social and emo­tion­al aspects of a child’s devel­op­ment. It is becom­ing rec­og­nized that a child’s emo­tion­al matu­ri­ty has a big impact on their abil­i­ty to learn and process infor­ma­tion. While that, at first blush, may seem Read the rest of this entry »

Teaching is the art of changing the brain

James Zull is a pro­fes­sor of Biol­o­gy. He is also Direc­tor Emer­i­tus of the Uni­ver­si­ty Cen­ter for Inno­va­tion in Teach­ing and Edu­ca­tion at Case West­ern Reserve Uni­ver­si­ty in Ohio. The Art of Changing  the Brain - James ZullThese roles most assured­ly coa­lesced in his 2002 book, The Art of Chang­ing the Brain: Enrich­ing the Prac­tice of Teach­ing by Explor­ing the Biol­o­gy of Learn­ing.

This is a book for both teach­ers and par­ents (because par­ents are also teach­ers!) Writ­ten with the earnest­ness of first-per­son expe­ri­ence and reflec­tion, and a life­time of exper­tise in biol­o­gy, Zull makes a well-round­ed case for his ideas. He offers those ideas for your perusal, pro­vid­ing much sup­port­ing evi­dence, but he doesn’t try to ram them into your psy­che. Rather, he prac­tices what he preach­es by engag­ing you with sto­ries, inform­ing you with fact, and encour­ag­ing your think­ing by the way he posits his ideas.

I have read a num­ber of books that trans­late cur­rent brain research into prac­tice while pro­vid­ing prac­ti­cal sug­ges­tions for teach­ers to imple­ment. This is the first book I have read that pro­vides a bio­log­i­cal, and clear­ly ratio­nal, overview of learn­ing and the brain. Zull pro­vokes you into think­ing Read the rest of this entry »

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