A new Swedish book teaches us how to read better. It is meant primarily for students, but wouldn’t it be nice for everyone to better remember what we read?
Tomas Dalström is the author of "Bäst i text” (”Best In Text” in English). Dalström is a lecturer and author, and his book deals with how our brains work in the reading- and writing process. According to Dalström, today’s multitasking is an obstacle when it comes to getting information programmed into our brains, which simply don’t get peace enough to work with what’s important.
”Learning requires breaks, breaks when we don’t do anything and when the brain has time to process what we just read. This is a problem today when most of us are multitaskers; a current study shows that we check our cell phones an average of 150 times in 16 hours. This is what we fill our breaks with, this is what our brain has to work with,” Dalström says.
To remember what we read, the trick is to get our long-term memory to register the information. In order to succeed with this, you need ”memory hooks,” i.e. something you’ve experienced in the past to hook up the new information on. Repetition, of course, is also important for the long-term memory.
”Imagine the brain as a smooth lump of modeling clay. The first time you get in touch with something, it leaves a mark in the clay. Someone has said that it’s like making a thin line in the clay with the nail on your little finger. When you repeat it, the line gets deeper. And the deeper it gets, the easier it is to remember when you study. Or play the guitar, or dance, or ski, and so on.”