Is it better to study while reading aloud or in silence?

It has always been said that “the more we read, the more we learn and the more we learn, the more we can go”. This is how the Dr let us know. Seuss, American writer and designer. The real problem is that we tend to forget everything we read more than half the time in the books we swallow.

We spent hours and hours in front of textbooks facing an exam, whether oral or written. Those endless moments in the library studying for an exam prove that memorization is not easy. The key is the study method. How many times have we absorbed ourselves and we repeat aloud what has been learned? This is a very effective way to reinforce what has been studied, but … is it more useful than reading silently?

Related article: “10 Tips for Studying Better and Effectively”

Do you study aloud or in silence?

In order to rigorously answer the main question, University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) researchers Colin McLeod and Noah Farrin published their study in the journal Memory entitled “The Benefits of Listening to Yourself”. The results reveal amazing methods that improve study techniques. The study aims to compare the silent technique with that which uses its own voice.

Farrin and McLeod decided to randomly select 100 students and take them to their experimental lab. They made them all play 80 words. According to the research guidelines, they were not told when they should return to the institution to complete the work. Most of the participants write all the words they remember on a piece of paper to be able to face the next level.

When called to retake the research tests, each individual used different learning methods before entering the laboratory. Faced with the impending test, one of four methods was administered: silently reading the words to be recited, listening to the tapes recorded by someone else, listening to the recorded tapes in one’s own voice, or speaking them aloud.

The results

The memory test gave amazing results. Based on a recognition test, the extent to which the students remembered the 80 words they memorized on the spot and the 80 they reproduced two weeks earlier was checked. It was obvious that the second group of words was going to be forgotten, at least for many of them. Participants were asked whether this word belonged to the one they had memorized at the time or if it came from the past.

Thus, it was confirmed that the most effective method was to pronounce the studied words aloud. In the vast majority of cases, reading aloud has been found to improve recall. In terms of efficiency, this method is followed by listening to the recorded tapes individually. Third, we find the tapes recorded by someone else and finally, and perhaps most importantly, we have silent reading method as the most deficient when memorizing concepts or words.

Likewise, the power of reading should not be overlooked. As is evident, the more we read, the more we will memorize. The question is storage capacity, memory. It should be noted, for example, that the difference between saying things out loud and listening to yourself on a recorded cassette was minimal: only 3%. It seems that listening to your own voice is an added value.

    The production effect

    After discussing these findings, the research authors coined the term “production effect,” which refers to the process one experiences while reading aloud rather than in silent mode. This effect is the fear of three factors added and dependent on each other. First, read aloud it activates the brain’s ability to store information. Second, reading increases visual memory capacity, and third, the effect of self-reference makes information more personal and therefore easier to remember.

    When students focus exclusively on reading other people’s information, they don’t get that personal experience that makes a difference when memorizing, they do not audit themselves in a way that does not awaken the other cognitive abilities mentioned above. Recent studies reinforce the thesis of the inadequacy of all students, regardless of their university degree, in regard to studies, arguing that reading as a sole method is inappropriate.

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