05 January 2018

Boost your memory by reading out loud

Struggling to remember the most mundane details? Reading out loud may help.

Are you starting to feel scatter-brained and forgetting errands on your to-do list? Or is your child already feeling anxious about memorising school work for tests in the New Year?

A new study has found that reading out aloud can help improve your chances of remembering information.

The best way to remember

Canadian researchers asked 95 people to remember written information in four different ways: reading the information silently; hearing someone else read it; listening to a recording of themselves reading it and reading it aloud.

Reading out loud proved to be the best way to remember the information, the study found. That "confirms that learning and memory benefit from active involvement," study co-author Colin MacLeod said in a news release from the University of Waterloo in Ontario. He's chair of the university's psychology department.

'Active' words become more memorable

"When we add an active measure or a production element to a word, that word becomes more distinct in long-term memory, and hence more memorable," he said. MacLeod's earlier research involved how writing and typing words enhanced memory retention.

As for the "practical applications of this research", MacLeod said, "I think of seniors who are advised to do puzzles and crosswords to help strengthen their memory. This study suggests that the idea of action or activity also improves memory."

That adds to existing knowledge that "regular exercise and movement are also strong building blocks for a good memory," he added.

The findings were published recently in the journal Memory.

More tips on improving memory

You can also strengthen your memory by doing the following:

  • Reduce large amounts of information by categorising it into smaller chunks. Try to mind-map the information.
  • Keep your workspace tidy and organised. This will help you keep on top of important stuff.
  • Do crossword puzzles or soduku in your spare time.

Image credit: iStock