Home » Reading to Remember: 6 Proven Active Reading Strategies for Retention

Reading to Remember: 6 Proven Active Reading Strategies for Retention

Do you remember when you read a book and couldn’t explain its premise to someone? Usually, this happens when you’re not actively engaged in it. We all go through it at some point – whether in elementary, middle, high, or beyond. So, what exactly does active reading entail? You immerse yourself in an active reading session and actively engage with the text.

In contrast, passive reading involves struggling to comprehend and absorb what you’re reading. Reading a paragraph over and over again, trying to grasp the concept, might prove frustrating. Whatever type of reading you prefer, engaging in active reading maximizes retention and comprehension. So, this blog post will explore the techniques and more to help you remember what you read.

Benefits of Active Reading Strategies

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Reading focuses primarily on comprehension. Or, in other words, understanding what someone is communicating. Understanding the writing on the page fully lets us grasp its intent and purpose.

Here’s how using active reading strategies can increase your academic retention:

  • Enhancing retention of knowledge
  • Increasing fluency in reading
  • Developing vocabulary
  • Enhancing memory
  • Enhancing critical thinking abilities
  • Enhancing reading discussion engagement

Despite your reading for pleasure, it can be challenging to stay engaged if you don’t employ active reading strategies. So, let’s get to know these strategies in the following sections.

6 Proven Active Reading Strategies

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Here are seven proven active reading strategies that’ll help you remember what you’ve learned in school:

1. Active Note-Taking

Taking notes is an effective way to engage with the material and improve memory retention. However, it is essential to take good notes rather than simply copying down information. Furthermore, studies agree that it improves attention and retention while listening without review leads to the poorest performance.

Active note-taking involves summarizing key points, writing down questions that arise, and connecting the study material to prior knowledge. This material and process not only helps with understanding and retention but also helps with information organization.

2. Question Everything While Reading

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Asking questions while reading is an active strategy that helps engage your mind with the material. The purpose of questions is to stimulate discussion, foster creativity and critical thinking, and determine how students think. Students retain material better by putting their thoughts into words they might not have expressed otherwise.

This approach may involve asking questions about the author’s purpose, identifying essential concepts, and connecting them to prior knowledge. When questions arise, you must stop and reflect on the answers, ensuring you understand the information well.

3. Use Multisensory Visualization

Visualization is an effective technique for improving memory. According to empirical studies, combining text and visualization improves students’ memory and helps them retain more information. To use this technique while reading, try to visualize the material in as much detail as possible.

This approach can involve creating mental images of the concepts being discussed or imagining oneself in the setting described in the material. When applicable, try to use other senses, like sound or touch, to create a more vivid mental image.

4. Draw Charts And Diagrams

Sometimes, visual representations of complex concepts can be challenging to understand. However, drawing diagrams or charts can help to understand the material better. Furthermore, one study suggests that drawing provides better retention than writing.

Labeling all parts and creating a clear, easy-to-understand layout is essential when drawing diagrams. They can use this technique for any subject area, including math, science, or literature.

5. Revisit Your Reading Strategically

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After reading, it is essential to revisit the material strategically. This approach involves reviewing key points and summaries, focusing on areas of weakness, and comparing notes with classmates or peers.

By revisiting the material, you can improve understanding and retention, which is essential when preparing for exams or projects.

6. Summarize With Multisensory Routines

Summarizing the material can be an effective way to engage the mind and improve memory retention. However, doing so with the material using multisensory routines can be even more effective.

This approach may include reading the material aloud, creating a visual summary, or writing an outline in one’s own words. You’ll absorb the material better using multiple senses, improving understanding and memory retention.


If you’ve been having a problem with comprehension in your studies, there’s a solution. The active reading strategies above can help enhance your memory and help develop a more profound, lasting understanding.

And the best part is you’ll discover more strategies the more you read strategically. Depending on how consistently you practice reading, you will develop your style. So, which of these strategies appeals to you the most?

Iv Tailor