Friday, April 21, 2017

Reading Out Loud

Royalty Free Clipart Image of a Little Girl Reading to Her Stuffed Animals

Today at her blog  Discarded Darlings, Jean Davis writes about reading your work out loud while in the process of editing. I was immediately reminded of something that I recalled in my memoir.

In general, I've had trouble reading anything out loud. Others have said that I read too fast and that they can't hear what I am saying.  I'm guessing this comes from the fact that I'm normally the quiet, reserved kind of person. This sort of people can get nervous when it comes to doing speeches in class--something I dealt with in with high school and college, since speech was required both times.

"Does reading out loud help you remember things better?" asks this blogpost.   From the post:

Reading Out Loud and Memory

The Production Effect

When we read, we are using our visual pathways to form memory links. We remember the material because it was something we saw. People who have photographic memory are extraordinarily good at making these kinds of memory connections. For the rest of us, relying only on visual memory may leave us with many gaps, and so we have to find other ways to remember things. When reading out loud, we form auditory links in our memory pathways. We remember ourselves saying it out loud, and so not only form visual but also auditory links.
Art Markman, Ph.D. writes in his blog in Psychology Today about the production effect, which explains exactly why reading out loud causes us to remember better. Specifically referring to a study in which learners were given a list and asked to read half of it out loud and half of it silently, the learners were able to remember the part of the list they read out loud a lot better than the part of the list they read silently. He adds that while there are memory pathways of visually seeing the words and also the auditory pathways of hearing the words, there is also a memory link to the actual production of the word, hence the production effect. Especially if the word or content is different, it makes it easier to remember.

Connecting to What You Read

However, what you should remember is that simply reading your entire textbook before an exam will most probably do nothing for you. Why is this? It’s because simply reading without categorizing, asking questions, and making connections does not do anything to organize the material in your mind. If you do not make connections, you do not have anything to anchor what you have read into your memory. Besides, wouldn’t you rather understand what you are reading rather than simply needing it for an exam and then forgetting it later?
Reading out loud while studying can be annoying, as it not only takes a longer time, but also has the possibility to make you look slightly deranged if you are muttering quietly to yourself in a library. However, it is another very effective strategy for remembering things. It’s worth the risk of looking like a lunatic so that you can remember better.
Another great way to learn better is to use Brainscape’s smart, adaptive-learning flashcards, which can help you learn a huge variety of subjects, from foreign languages to science, mathematics, and more. Check out all the Brainscape flashcard sets here.

I kind of agree with the part reading out loud when studying. Though sometimes it did come in handy when learning to pronounce foreign-language words or science terms derived form Latin or Greek. But it certainly was annoying and time-consuming when studying for that boring history exam. 
In my memoir, I recalled that having trouble speaking up is no doubt something that has been brought on my anxiety tendencies.  I'm now seeing trouble reading even one part of my memoir out loud!

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