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anon30's avatar

Does reading out loud improve your chance or remembering what you reading?

Asked by anon30 (334points) February 17th, 2010

In your experience does reading outloud improve your chance of memory? Has there been research done to prove this? What else can help improve your memory of what you’ve read?

Cause i’m reading a book about Coding and designing a website, Theres a lot of stuff to remember, So would reading out loud help remembering what I’ve read?

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37 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

I would say with that subject matter it would be best to take or record notes as you go.

erichw1504's avatar

Personally, I prefer reading to myself. When reading aloud, I tend to focus more on pronunciation than what I’m actually trying to learn and understand. So, I guess it’s more of a preference and maybe seeing what works best for you.

P.S. Thanks for taking my advice and including me in the tags! Haha.

ucme's avatar

I see this on the train regularly.It certainly improves their chances of me telling them to shut the fuck up.Politely of course.

Judi's avatar

It keeps me focused. Sometimes, if I’m reading something a little bit dry, it helps me to stay with the material rather than let my mind wander. If it’s really boreing, I will make up a funny voice to try to entertain myself while still absorbing the information.

noyesa's avatar

I’m a computer science student so I read a lot of coding books too. Ultimately, you’re not going to remember everything, but you will remember patterns. Remembering patterns requires implementing those patterns, so if you’re working with a programming language out of a book, the best thing you can do to remember it is to try it, play around with it, make it your own. When you can manipulate the code exactly as you want and you completely grasp it, you’re that much less likely to forget it. And if you do, you’re always a Google search away—a quick refresher will have you rolling in a couple seconds.

gailcalled's avatar

For me, reading out loud would be a distracting exercise in elocution and thus changing my focus.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Not for me. If I read aloud then my focus is like others, on my voice and delivery. I find reading aloud then I will mispronounce words or read them as entirely different words. Also, I read very quickly to myself and retain well that way which hasn’t been the case with reading aloud.

marinelife's avatar

It wouldn’t help me, because I don’t care to read out loud. It also tends to bother others.

Val123's avatar

It distracts me. Reading to myself, I read two or three words at once, not just one at a time.

HGl3ee's avatar

My mouth cannot move as fast as my brain can read, it’s the cause for my stutter. I think to fast for my mouth, it can’t keep up and formulate the words fast enough.

My imagination and visualization is what makes things I read stick with me. Even boring literature, as long as I can somehow picture it in my head, it becomes interesting and stays with me :)

thriftymaid's avatar

Yes, the more ways you absorb the material the more likely you are to remember it. Read it out loud and take notes as you go—best chance for remembering.

Val123's avatar

The only time I read out loud is if I don’t understand something. Then I’ll read it to myself two or three times, trying to make sense of it….

susanc's avatar

It may depend mostly on whether you’re an auditory thinker or not. I’m a visual thinker;
and I take in information most easily by seeing. For example, if someone tells me something I need to remember, I have to write it down or make a little picture of it. Seems
to me that you’ve figured out… oh, @thriftymaid just said it better.

LostInParadise's avatar

It does not work for me. The best way to learn is by doing. I would suggest creating small projects based on what you are reading in the book.

syz's avatar

Reading aloud does not help me, but note taking does.

Val123's avatar

This was stolen from @wundayatta. Very interesting.

Sarcasm's avatar

For me? Yes.
It also forces me to pay attention to what I’m reading, rather than letting my eyes wander.

But everyone is different.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

I copy important info. Writing it down helps. Reading it out loud can help me but I don’t do it nearly as often unless I really need to remember something that just isn’t sticking.

jerv's avatar

Personally, I find that it doesn’t help at all. I tend to remember stuff that I have written though; the act of writing it is slow enough to allow stuff to stay in my mind long enough to sink in.

Your mileage may vary.

Val123's avatar

@jerv And the act of re-writing. Again. And again. And again….

suncatnin's avatar

If I’m reading aloud or hearing someone else read aloud, I tend to remember absolutely nothing from it. I really need to see the words on paper to think through it. I do have the bad habit of reading interesting parts of something aloud to anyone who will listen though :)

absalom's avatar

It varies from person to person, but reading out loud sometimes helps me concentrate on the text, helps me stifle any noise that could be going on in my head (which I mean literally, because I have a tinnitus that can be quite distracting sometimes if I’m in a silent space).

At other times, though, I tend to focus too closely on what I sound like when I’m reading aloud. And then I don’t remember anything.

I read an article a while ago that presented arguments for reading aloud to oneself. It also suggested that reading silently is only a relatively recent phenomenon. St. Augustine wrote in Confessions of the bishop of Milan, “His eyes traveled across the pages and his heart searched out the meaning, but his voice and tongue stayed still.” There is apparently more evidence (source) but I have also seen articles that refute these claims.

As for whether or not it’s helpful: the only way you can know is by trying it yourself.

NKH12's avatar

I don’t think so; I usually become distracted with the strange and different voices that I move into when reading aloud.
Taking notes is the best.

filmfann's avatar

I don’t read books or newspapers out loud, but I do read out loud map pages and grid numbers when I am looking at a map. Otherwise, I have to flip back and forth a few times.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Effective learning requires an active processing of the material. Some material is narrative in nature such as many humanities and social science materials. If reading these aloud helps keep you focused and alert, then do it.

With mathematics, making notes and working examples is much more active than mere reading of the text.

What works best varies not only with the nature of the content but with the nature of the learner.

Discover what works for you and do that.

cloud916's avatar

Reading outloud intensifies both your audio and visual senses, therefore your brain will retain this in 2 forms. So I would say yes works for me when I need to remember a speech.

YARNLADY's avatar

I used to tape myself reading so I could play it back when I wanted to study, and I didn’t need the book, such as driving errands and such. My family thought it was hilarious when I did my ‘studying’ in the shower, by playing the tape machine.

EdMayhew's avatar

It helps me remember. Like @ElleBee my brain reads faster than my mouth, however in my case whilst that’s great for fiction, for learning it’s not so good. Vocalising the text makes me slow it down, and also makes sure I read every word, as normally when I’m reading to myself I tend to skim read for speed.
Taking notes is a drag, but they really do help – also make sure you have a highlighter and lots of sticky post-it notes so you can go easily access key information within the book when you need it.


ChaosCross's avatar


Val123's avatar

@ChaosCross My sisters used to have a toy Push-Me Pull-You (Dr. Doolittle) and that thing always said, “Indubitably”

mattbrowne's avatar

Usually not. Highlighting and underlining helps and making additional comments next to the text.

YARNLADY's avatar

@mattbrowne I feel nearly physical pain when I write in a book.

gailcalled's avatar

And I can’t read (the books that I own) without a pencil in my hand. When I reread something, I find my earlier notes cryptic and nonsensical.

I love reading the books my kids read and wrote it, years later.

I am rereading my daughter’s copy of Mme Bovary. She (daughter and not Emma) wrote translations, textual comments and notes to her friends about boys, in the margins.

mattbrowne's avatar

@YARNLADY, @EdMayhew – Most of my non-fiction books are full of highlighting, underlining, exclamation marks and personal notes. It helps me understand all the nitty-gritty details of cosmology, astrophysics, neuroscience, psychology etc.

avi76's avatar

It seems no one has answered the original question: “Has there been research done to prove this?” Rather everyone has just given their own opinions. It would be nice to know if any actual scientific study has been done to show if reading out loud improves recall.

MaximumRide110's avatar

If you are trying to study something, you just keep reading out loud. Maybe after the tenth time or so, cover the writing and say it until you have it completely memorized.

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