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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 »

Neuroimaging study finds extensive brain rewiring–in just six months–among illiterate adults learning to read and write

Learn­ing to read and write rewires adult brain in six months (New Sci­en­tist):

Learn­ing to read can have pro­found effects on the wiring of the adult brain – even in regions that aren’t usu­al­ly asso­ci­at­ed with read­ing and writ­ing.

That’s what Michael Skei­de of the Max Planck Insti­tute for Human Cog­ni­tive and Brain Sci­ences in Leipzig, Ger­many, and his col­leagues found when they taught a group of illit­er­ate adults in rur­al India to read and write 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 »

Study: Dyslexia not related to intelligence. Implications for discrepancy model?

NIH-fund­ed study finds dyslex­ia not tied to IQ (NIH press release):

At left, brain areas active in typ­i­cal­ly devel­op­ing read­ers engaged in a rhyming task. Shown at right is the brain area acti­vat­ed in poor read­ers involved in the same task.

- “Regard­less of high or low over­all scores on an IQ test, chil­dren with dyslex­ia show sim­i­lar pat­terns of brain activ­i­ty, accord­ing to researchers sup­port­ed by the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health. The results call into ques­tion the dis­crep­an­cy mod­el — the prac­tice of clas­si­fy­ing a child as dyslex­ic on the basis of a lag between read­ing abil­i­ty and over­all IQ scores.”

- “In many school sys­tems, the dis­crep­an­cy mod­el is the cri­te­ri­on for Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Development Through Bilingual Education and Activities Requiring Self-Control

How To Help Your Child’s Brain Grow Up Strong (NPR):

- “Kids who learn two lan­guages young are bet­ter able to learn abstract rules and to reverse rules that they’ve already learned,” says Aamodt. “They’re less like­ly to have dif­fi­cul­ty choos­ing between con­flict­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties when there are two pos­si­ble respons­es that both present them­selves. They’re also bet­ter at fig­ur­ing out what oth­er peo­ple are think­ing, which is prob­a­bly because they have to fig­ure out which lan­guage to use every time they talk to Read the rest of this entry »

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