Learn faster and remember more with this simple trick

Have you every studied really, really hard for something and then come test time you can’t seem to remember anything you’ve read?  You’re not alone.

Sometimes when studying, I would find myself reading, only to “space out” a little and have to re-read a section.  And then re-read another, squinting my eyes at the words and willing them into my brain.

So how can we improve retention while reading?

If you want to remember more, read it out loud.  That’s it.  BOOM!

A study by Forrin & MacLeod (University of Waterloo) published online in October of 2017 found that speaking what you read aloud helps to get it into your long-term memory.  It has to do with the “production” effect, meaning when reading is combined with some sort of motor skill (speaking), you are much more likely to have that information committed to long term memory because it becomes an “active” exercise.  A similar (but not as strong) effect happened when study participants listened to a recording of themselves while reading, versus hearing other read aloud or reading in silence.

This technique is PERFECT for English learning as well, because our goal is not just to learn the information, but to use it in oral speech.


“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.  Say the information that you want to remember out loud and you’ll have a higher likelihood of remembering it” -MacLeod


Although there are many applications for this research, our take-away should be this: reading aloud in real time, could give us between a five and fifteen percent boost in learning speed and retention.

SOURCES:  University of Waterloo / Curiosity

By James

I'm the creator of the 3A Hospitality English Program and Co-Founder of 3Aenglish.com. I lived and taught in China for a few years and am currently back in BC, Canada. Thanks for joining us here, I hope we can learn some cool new things together!