Study finds reading information aloud to yourself improves memory

December 1, 2017, University of Waterloo
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

You are more likely to remember something if you read it out loud, a study from the University of Waterloo has found.

A recent Waterloo study found that speaking text aloud helps to get words into long-term memory. Dubbed the "production effect," the study determined that it is the dual action of speaking and hearing oneself that has the most beneficial impact on memory.

"This study confirms that learning and memory benefit from active involvement," said Colin M. MacLeod, a professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Waterloo, who co-authored the study with the lead author, post-doctoral fellow Noah Forrin. "When we add an active measure or a production element to a word, that word becomes more distinct in , and hence more memorable."

The study tested four methods for learning written information, including reading silently, hearing someone else read, listening to a recording of oneself reading, and reading aloud in . Results from tests with 95 participants showed that the production effect of reading information aloud to yourself resulted in the best remembering.

"When we consider the practical applications of this research, I think of seniors who are advised to do puzzles and crosswords to help strengthen their memory," said MacLeod. "This study suggests that the idea of action or activity also improves memory.

"And we know that regular exercise and movement are also strong building blocks for a good memory."

This research builds on previous studies by MacLeod, Forrin, and colleagues that measure the production effect of activities, such as writing and typing words, in enhancing overall memory retention.

This latest study shows that part of the benefit of speech stems from it being personal and self-referential.

The study was recently published in the journal Memory.

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4 / 5 (2) Dec 01, 2017
Why is this news? I was taught this in my English class many, many years ago.
1 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2017
Someone actually felt the need to do a study on this? It's been known for a long time that verbalizing information helps cement it into one's memory. Why the study? In fact, i'm willing to bet it was soemthing that had been studied decades ago and has simply been done again because it's has either been forgotten (the original study) or has been done to pad Noah Forrin's resume.
5 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2017
There are no statistics in this article. Reading aloud requires time and energy. So there is an investment. What is the payoff? 1% improvement? .01%?

The improvement may be significant in purely statistical terms. But that is not enough. There has to be a positive return on investment in order for someone to adopt this strategy.

This and almost every social science type article I read here suffers from this same problem.
not rated yet Dec 03, 2017
A benefit for the swindler "researcher" in a population largely unaware of anything that happened before a few minutes ago.
The fact is, reading text aloud to the entire class is a common practice in legitimate grade schools, not the social clubs with computers and smartphones that modern "grade schools" are. That was treated as part and parcel of "quaint" methods that were dispensed with wholly by the Democratic Party controlled "education" system not because they didn't work but because people who had been around before what came to be called the "counter culture" utilized it and the "counter culture" automatically defined anything and everything they did as "wrong". For those tempted or trained to think that only the modern era did anything, things like that peasant women had been carrying out a form of inoculation door to door for years before Edward Jenner "discovered" "vaccination" are unthinkable.
not rated yet Dec 04, 2017
In China since 2000+ years ago, students have been asked to do 'morning reading aloud' every morning. Reading books aloud, particularly in the early moring time (6:00-8:00 am), is the most efficient way of establishing a long term memory. This period of time corresponds to the "refreshing phase" in our internal circadian rythm.
not rated yet Dec 04, 2017
@BobSage: I'm glad you want to know the details. But for that, you need to gain access to the original paper itself. Can't expect a synopsis to provide all the statistics. Personally, I appreciate a compilation of "teasers" to keep me informed on a broad front. I can choose which to drill down into. Peace!
not rated yet Dec 09, 2017
Noah D. Forrin, Colin M. MacLeod. This time it's personal: the memory benefit of hearing oneself.
Memory, 2017; 1
DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2017.1383434


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