Reading, Memory and ADHD
As you well know reading is one thing, remembering what you’ve read is another. Dang it.
I love reading. Truly, I do. But it’s often been a frustrating experience because I have ADHD.
I read for minutes or for hours and then when finished I come to realize I don’t remember a thing. Nope. Nothing. Blank. Nada.
I’m lucky to remember the book title. This was a pain in the booty back in my school days. It’s kind of weird, but I tend to remember things better two weeks later rather than after 2 hours. Go ahead, try and explain that to your teacher.
However, the good news is that over the years of beating my head against books (paperbacks, because hardbacks hurt), I have come up with strategies that help me remember. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.
So below are the top 7 that have been the most successful for me. Keep in mind that I can use some help, so if you have any good tips on how to remember what you’ve read, please share in the comments.
7 Strategies I Use to Remember
1) Change up reading speed. I read as fast as I can. Speed reading. I thought if I read slowly I would remember more, but it turns out that I remember much more when I read faster. I still can’t wrap my head around how that works but it does.
2) White noise. A fan or a washing machine will work and I tried the blender, but I couldn’t hear the words I was reading in my head and Joan threatened to make me read in the garage. For the sake of our marriage I now listen to soft ambient music while I read. Headphones help, too.
3) Turn things off. I turn off my cell phone, the TV and the PC monitor and yes, even my ipad (unless I am reading on my ipad, then it stays on and I shut off all the little background alerts).
4) I use a highlighter, but not always to highlight something. I focus better when I have something in my hand to fidget with. A highlighter works perfectly and if I do happen to want to highlight something, well, I’ve got a something handy to do just that!
5) Use a ruler. Or some other guiding device. It helps keep my mind on the page, but frequently becomes another object for me to twirl.
6) Drink coffee or tea! Yes, this is the key ingredient to remembering what I have read, sipping coffee while I read. It’s magical, delightful and effective. Oh, and tasty, too. Not a good idea at bed time, though. Bummer.
7) I read what interests me. When I have the option, I read what enthralls me. I am currently reading something of interest, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it is right now.
Xtra -8) Punt. Self-explanatory. See. Book. Fly.
Your turn: What reading strategies do you use to remember what you’ve read? Share in the comments.
Photos via Flickr creative commons 1) by John Morgan, 2) by Moriartys.