Intuitively, this makes sense. Talking, like taking notes, forces us to put material into our own words. Every teacher knows that the way to learn a subject is to teach it, talking about the subject to an audience.
How can talking help us read better, though? You might say, “I talk every day to teachers, to friends, and to parents, but I still have difficulty reading.” Of course! To make the talking approach work, you must apply it to books.
First, you can talk about anything you have just read—a book, an article, or an essay someone has written for a class.
Try to explain the writing to another person, and be prepared to answer questions about it.
Second, when preparing for an exam, get together with a group of one or two friends to discuss the material. (Keep the group to three people or fewer so that you can stay focused.) Before the meeting, each person should write down 5–10 questions that she knows the answers to. At the meeting, have your friends try to answer the questions aloud. Use their answers as a basis for further discussion.
Third, pose questions about what you’ve read to teachers, parents, or friends. Figuring out what questions to ask is an important part of learning. Listening to people answer them is also an important skill.
If you make a point of regularly talking about what you read, you will probably find that you understand the material better and remember it longer.
FOR PARENTS: Chances are that your child is learning material you didn’t learn in school. So turn your child into a teacher; ask him questions about his reading.
Not sure what questions to ask? Think of the five W’s + H: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. Pay particular attention to Why and How; these questions demand complex thinking.
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