I remember things I read very well. I also can read fairly quickly so it is one of the ways I can learn new things in quick hurry. I also have learned that retention can be much higher when reading is done aloud. I think there is something to learning being more effecting the more of the ways that communication you use at once. That’s why people who read aloud actually retain more knowledge and whenever I can get away with it without being disturbing I do so. But the greatest thing I see is when people read in groups and then discuss what they read.
People learn on a lot of levels. Most of us gravitate to one in particular but we all learn through seeing, hearing, mind or feeling at some level. Reading is most effective when you can engage all four if possible.
Visual – Reading is by nature a visual exercise. You see the words and they resonate there in the eyes with the meaning.
Hearing – Reading aloud brings in the auditory component and makes reading both a visual and auditory experience. If the person not reading aloud is still following along in the pages he is still gaining the benefit. I like auditory books in this regard if I can couple them by following along. Any way you slice it, it is good to bring the two together
Mental – Reading has this other nature inherent to it in that it is engaging the mind. The mind is constantly interpreting what is being seen and heard.
Feeling – When the book can reach into a person’s emotions it hits another level based on change and relationships. This is particularly true with stories. People rarely forget what they have feelings about and if you have a good reader to read aloud those emotions are often translated to others.
In my life have a weekly opportunity to read to others. I stand in my pulpit and read the Scriptures to people on at least two occasions each Sunday and it is something I think is beneficial because it is an opportunity to engage people with learning by touching all of these. . I have found it is easier to get response form the stories of the Bible or the powerful quotes that everyone knows. Reading to others in other ways has also been enjoyable to me.
When my wife was pregnant with our first son, I read to her every night. We didn’t have a TV, so we dove into books. In particular I read the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to her. My wife does not in general like science fiction and fantasy movies but oddly enough with the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit she has wanted to be there to watch them. She has strong feelings about those books so it has translated to interest in the movies. maybe that is why comic book movies are so big right now with all the interest their used to be in comic book for many generations. The characters evoke strong memories and emotions.
I have seen this in other places too. Reading groups have fascinated me for years and I understand them. It is the engagement of a book on all levels. People see the words, hear them and engage them either mentally and with emotions. The added dynamic of everyone doing this in a group just intensifies the process on all levels.
There was a time when people predicted the demise of books but I have not been so sure because I felt it was only a matter of time before technology took an interest in the written page and the proliferation of reading devices has proved me right. Reading has simply through technology reached a different audience and added another dynamic. Books that read themselves out loud. In the end we are creating something that engages all the dynamics of learning and that is a good thing.
With all that gain however, I do appreciate the simplicity picking up a book and reading it aloud to someone else. There is something about that, that draws the human to human equation and I can appreciate that very much.
Blessings and Cheers!