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kdrive's avatar

How do you stay focused and retain info while reading?

Asked by kdrive (155points) December 24th, 2010

I think I have ADD, I can’t focus on a whole book, help, do you have any tips, i need to finish this book for school.

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15 Answers

marinelife's avatar

If you have ADD (which would need to be diagnosed), you are going to have a very hard time focusing.

Try taking little notes of main points as you read.

SuperMouse's avatar

You could try some ideas for increasing reading comprehension. An example would be to keep Post-it Notes close by and as you are reading make notes. If it is a text you can mark up, you can highlight or make notes in the margins as you are reading. You could even just grab a piece of notebook paper and make notes there. If it suits your learning style, you could even draw your notes, making pictures of your inner-dialogue or what you are picturing as you read. These things will help you monitor your inner-conversation to help you stay focused on the text at hand. Mouse steps on a soapbox One huge part of reading instruction that is missing a lot of the time is the comprehension piece.

Ballymuck's avatar

Stop every 20 minutes and ask yourself a few questions:

What was that about?
What are the main names used?
How would I have written it differently?

(a bit hard to generate questions since I don’t know what you’re reading, but you get the idea). It’s also a good idea to take some exercise in between bouts of reading. Improves concentration and retention.

Kayak8's avatar

Sometimes it is a matter of learning how you learn. My brother has ADD and couldn’t take in much information through reading, but if I read TO him and talked through the major points of the reading, he could ace his exams (although he did better if the questions were read to him and he was able to speak the answer, rather than reading the question and having to write the answer.)

You may not be a reader, you may need to see hands-on examples, or may need to “touch” the material (e.g., my brother learned his letters through the use of cut-out sand-paper alphabet letters that he could touch and trace).

I am very visual. If I can draw out a process diagram I have the material in my brain for the rest of my life. If someone tells me something, I don’t do as well with remembering the information. Everyone has different learning styles—it is a matter of figuring out how you best learn and adapting the information so it is in the style that works for your brain.

Hedaru's avatar

Some people using a different way to focus.
Some of them are not read the whole things or words inside the book, because it’ll make you stressed out and kinda bored. If you want a different atmosphere, you can try to read it along with the beautiful and calm music.

For the fun way, try to search for a picture, game, movie, or animation about what you read. It will take you on more interesting way to learn. If you don’t have much time, you can draw it on a paper. no need to be a good looking picture

And for the best read, you can use a coloring marker mark out the important thing you need to remember.

jerv's avatar

ADD often involves focusing on that which interests and an inability to focus on that which does not.

Personally, when I am in the middle of something interesting, I hyper-focus to the exclusion of noticing people walking around the room and occasionally don’t even notice them talking to me. When I am in the middle of something uninteresting (like most conversations) then I have a hard time paying attention long enough for the speaker to even finish a sentence, and often have to ask them to repeat themselves after I count the cracks in the wall. I can spend hours reading Neal Stephenson or an RPG rulebook, but can’t finish most magazine/newspaper articles that are far shorter.

We all learn differently, and some of us far differently from most. My wife and I are almost opposite as she cannot see pictures in her head very well at all whereas I am like @Kayak8; a visual thinker who often has little/no use for words. That also meant that we both needed different types of special treatment in school in order to handle a curriculum designed for normal people.

Also if I don’t see how something is relevant and have no interest in it, then there is nothing that can be done to make me understand unless/until you can convince me that it’s something I actually want to know. (If I need to know but still don’t want to, then it ain’t happening. Threats of failing tests or getting fired don’t work with me.) Since your book is an assignment and likely not something you actually want to read, odds are that you will always find something to distract you.

Scruples98's avatar

Change up your location! Find different locations and circulate between them – coffee shop; library; restaurant; home, etc.. I find different settings help the brain retain information better.

Nullo's avatar

Re-phrase the stuff that you just read.
In many respects, ADD is almost like having a surplus of attention, that you can’t nail to the task at hand. Give it some techno to process, and it might leave you alone.

littlebeck30's avatar

First off, I don’t think you have ADD. A lot of people have trouble focusing on a book, especially a book that isn’t interesting to the individual.

There are many ways to help, including taking breaks every other page and making sure you aren’t zoning out.

Be a trouper! And stick with it!
And reward yourself every ten pages with something good. Like after reading 10 pages, have a snack or do something that you love. Then increase the number of pages over time

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

I make sure that I am well quinched, because if I feel thirsty I seem to go into a daydream state of mind. Plus I take notes and marginalize.

BusyMommyof8's avatar

It helps to find out what your best learning style is. You can take a brief online assessment here-
Then use the information to work for you. For example, I’m the ADHD mommy to a houseful of ADD/ADHD kids. I’ve assessed all of their learning styles as it’s made studying and homework much less of a struggle for them. My auditory learners, kids who learn best by hearing, study by reading outloud to each other or reading into a tape recorder and listening to what was read later.
That’s just one toe on first base. There are so many tools you can use to make your diff-abilitities work for you instead of tripping you up.
God bless you!

Justice13's avatar

Try picturing the scenes and then imagining what it’d be like to be there, watching the events occur, doing something as mundane as twiddling your thumbs.

I got through War of the Worlds by imagining myself watching all that stuff going on in person, completely unnoticed by human or alien alike, eating bacon, like it’s something normal to watch.

The simple humor will help you remember, because you always remember what you personally enjoy…

kdrive's avatar

thanks for all the answers, i have been trying to take notes, but i don’t get far because my mind wants to do something else, like writing this response in fluther.

now focus

kdrive's avatar

Techno-Cassandras fret over what’s happening to our attention spans, our ability to think and read deeply, to enjoy time with our own thoughts or a good book.

hotgirl67's avatar

Try to keep what the main idea is in your head while you read and what it means in your own words.

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