Scientists have revealed a simple trick for boosting your memory.
Reading something out loud is the most effective way of retaining information, a study found.
This is thought to be due to both speaking and hearing words making them more personal and therefore increasing the chance they will stick in your mind, the research adds.
Lead author Professor Colin MacLeod from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, said: ‘This study confirms that learning and memory benefit from active involvement.
‘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.’
This builds on previous findings by the same researchers that revealed writing and typing words make them easier to remember.
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Reading something out loud is the most effective way of retaining information (stock)
READING TO YOUR CHILD BOOSTS THEIR MEMORY AND PROBLEM-SOLVING ABILITY
Researchers hope their findings will reinforce the value of interactive reading, where children are actively encouraged to participate.
Lead author Dr John Hutton from the Cincinntai Children’s Hospital Medical Centre, said: ‘The takeaway for parents in this study is that they should engage more when reading with their child, ask questions, have them turn the page, and interact with each other.
‘In turn, this could fuel brain activation – or “turbocharge” the development of literacy skills, particularly comprehension, in preschool aged children.’
Twenty two four-year-old girls were observed using scans that measure brain activity while reading a story with their mother.
The scans showed children displaying the greatest interest in the narrative had increased activation in the right side of the cerebellum – an area of the brain thought to support cognitive skill.
This area is key for memory, problem-solving and attention.
How the research was carried out
The researchers analyzed 95 people.
They assessed the study’s participants’ ability to remember information after reading it silently, being read to by someone else, listening to themselves saying it aloud or speaking it out loud in real time.
‘Learning and memory benefit from involvement’
Results reveal reading something aloud helps people to remember it.
This is thought to be due to the ‘production effect’, which is the action of both speaking and hearing yourself say something, which makes it personal to the individual and subsequently easier to remember.
Professor MacLeod said: ‘This study confirms that learning and memory benefit from active involvement.
‘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.
‘When we consider the practical applications of this research, 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.
‘And we know that regular exercise and movement are also strong building blocks for a good memory.’
The findings were published in the journal Memory.