How Do You Read?

As a college student are you like me and always looking for new ways to improve your studying? If so, then how do you go about reading your class materials (lecture notes, chapters within textbooks, flashcards, etc.)? Do you read them to yourself silently or aloud?

In a particular study done by Noah Forrin and Colin MacLeod, they looked to see if reading material silently or aloud helps one remember more information. In the study, the researchers tested ninety-five students over the period of two semesters. They asked the participants to remember as many words as possible from a list of one hundred and sixty nouns. In some situations, the participants read the list of words into a microphone. In other situations, the participants read the list of words presented to them aloud, while in others, they either heard their own recorded voice played back to them, heard recordings of other individuals reading the words, or read the words silently to themselves. Afterwards, the participants were all tested to see how many words they remembered from the list of one hundred and sixty.

From the study, the researchers found that the participants who read the list of words aloud remembered more words than all the other participants- even the ones who heard their own recorded voice played back to them. However, the ones who heard their own recorded voice played back to them did do better than the participants who heard other individuals reading the words as well as the ones who read the list of words to themselves. From the outcome of the study, the researchers suggest that, “people are better at remembering things that involve them; specifically saying words aloud themselves rather than someone else saying them.”

In this study, we can see the process of “production effect”; the dual action of hearing yourself speak helps the brain to store the information so that it is able to become long-term memory. It is quite fascinating to see that by hearing your own voice reading given material you are able to remember more information opposed to you hearing someone else’s voice reading the same material. However, it’s even more fascinating to read that hearing your voice aloud allows you to remember more material opposed to reading the material to yourself silently. Although reading out loud while studying can often become annoying it is helpful knowing that it is an effective strategy for retaining the information. From now on while reading and studying, I will make it a priority to read the material aloud rather than to myself- I encourage you to do the same!


1 thought on “How Do You Read?

  1. jmzm

    I thought this post was interesting and reminded me of some of my friends in the education program. One of my friends in the education program brought up the topic of reading silently or out loud, and she said her professor taught her that one of the ways teachers know when students have reached fluent reading/writing level is when they stop reading out loud and start reading silently.

    I thought it was interesting that the information in your article states otherwise. It makes me question why the education system pushes for students to read silently if reading aloud is more beneficial for memory. This is something I hope to look further into soon.

Comments are closed.