Can Reading Aloud cause you to remember things better?

In the article, ‘The Memory’, the production effect was explained in detail and the neorological benefit of saying words out loud over silently reading them was also highlighted. In that article, the authors stated that speaking text out loud while reading is more effective for your memory retaining capacity. The double effect of speaking and hearing helps reinforce the message, this experiment was called the production effect. A total of 95 participants were used, the participants were college students who experimented with the researchers for two semesters.

The experiment involved the researchers asking the participants to recall as much words as they can from a list of 160 words. For example, they would be made to read out a list of words out on a microphone and then the participants were to return two weeks later for further experiments and follow-up tests. Different participants were made to do different things like reading out loud, listen to their own recorded words, or listen to the recorded words of others, while some were asked to read the words silently. After this stage, the participants were tested to note how many words they could recall from the list.

At the end of the experiment, they discovered that the participants who read aloud recalled more words than the other participants. However, the researchers also noted that listening to their own recorded words had some effect on the participants. They had better recollection than the participants who listened to the recordings of other participants. They also suggested that the effect could have been a result of the participants finding the sound of their own voice weird and thus struck a memory chord within them.

Essentially, the experiment proved that reading aloud made participants remember better. The point was quite clear in the journal, to remember better, read it and speak it. The experiment was concluded on the note that word production is partly memorable because it involves a unique and self-referencing element.      

A similar study was also carried out in Canada and reported by Medical News Today. The study involved 44 students who were also fluent in French. The students were made to look at words on a computer screen and read them in different ways which included reading silently, reading the words out loud, reading the words out loud to another person or reading and moving their lips silently or quietly. This study noted that reading the words out loud to another person yielded a higher recollection rate while reading silently yielded the lowest when the participants were made to test their memory recollection rate.

Helping you connect with what you read

Reading aloud helps you focus more on what you are reading and reduces the likelihood of distractions. Reading words out loud creates a connection between your voice and your mind and this essentially leads to an increase in focus and attention. When words are spoken out loud, they seem all the more real and potent and they can be connected to real life similar situations and stories.

This helps the reader to connect emotionally and psychologically with the story or article. It also helps the reader to organize their thought processes systematically, while questioning unknown words and picking at their retained knowledge. Reading out loud gives a deeper meaning to words for both the reader and listener.  

Whether we admit it or not, many times, when we read, we tend to skim over some parts of the page or our mind drifts and wanders. This is not the case when we read aloud. It improves our comprehension and slows us down in a way when we read out loud. Biologically, our minds work faster than the mouth and we are forced to slow down when we read out and allow the words to fully sink in instead of breezing through the passage or essay.

How reading out loud improves your memory

Hearing yourself read out loud forms an auditory and visual connection to the memory pathway in your brain. Like I explained earlier, studies have been carried out to prove the memory effect of reading out loud on people. An experiment, other than the examples I highlighted above was published in Psychology Today and the author Dr. Art Markman, explained how reading aloud can improve our memories by asking the participants to read from a word list.

They were made to read half of the words on the list out loud while they read the other half silently. At the end of the experiment, a recollection exercise was carried out and it was discovered that the frequency of words remembered were higher from the word list read out loud than the word list read silently.

He also stated that there is a visual pathway to remembering things and an auditory pathway to remembering things and they stand apart as two separate entities. There is also a separate link to word production and reading aloud helps to bring the visual and auditory pathways together and link them with the word production pathway, making it easier for the person to remember easily.

While it is easier for people with photogenic memory to rely more heavily on their visual pathway, others have to find ways to aid their memory capacity like reading out loud and utilizing their auditory pathway alongside their visual pathway to yield better results.

How it helps with Pronunciation

It is easy to assume we know a lot of words but it is a different ball game when it comes to knowing the pronunciation of those words. English words, or words from other languages for that matter, can prove almost confusing when their pronunciations use a different dynamic or phonetic language than what we are used to. Most words are not pronounced as they are spelt and they can be quite confusing. Words like colonel, paradigm, viscount, epitome and a host of others.

Reading aloud will let you know your flaws in pronunciation and even your fluency level. You will be more likely to catch your pronunciation mistakes or have someone correct them if they know the correct pronunciation. Reading out loud can also improve your accent in the language you read in. Essentially, it improves your vocabulary and makes you a better reader and listener.

If you are also aiming at perfecting a new language, reading out loud will be a great way to learn new words in that language, develop and get used to the accent of the language and reinforce your pronunciations. And to cap it all off, this also works great with your first language.

Why is reading out loud Important?

If you’ve read this far into the article, then you must have a lot of insight into the importance and benefits reading aloud will bring you. However, what we have focused on, improving your memory capacity, improving your pronunciation, helping you connect with what you read, are not the only benefits you will gain from reading out loud.

Reading out loud is bound to increase your attention span and your focusing skills. It improves your recollection skill and comprehension skills, also making you a better listener, reader and generally improving your ability to understand better.

Reading out loud has also been likened to a socio-emotional activity. Voice actor, voice writers, actors and a host of others have all benefitted one way or the other from reading aloud. Hence, it is safe to say that the benefits of this exercise is not just reserved for kids and students. Adults also stand a chance to benefit from this activity, even parents benefit because of the bond created when reading aloud to their children. It gives you the opportunity to watch out for your use of inflections and intonations.

Final Words…

As an activity that can improve your communication skills, reading aloud helps you develop adaptive capability, this capability depends on a preset recollection of memorized knowledge, but adaptive capability depends on the procurement of important information. This is, information systematized through links to other information.

Reading aloud is also really important to people who may have auditory impairment or simply just prefer audio learning. It improves the learning and cognitive capacities of growing children or babies, especially when their parents read out loud to them. It also improves the classroom experience and intensifies the students’ experience around a learning environment.

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