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Learning a new way to read and retaining knowledge

Written by Anshul Kumar Published on 

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As a child, I’ve always sought after the pleasure of reading, but the knowledge does not usually stay in my mind. Here’s what I learnt for knowledge retention in reading.

It happened back in India, and I recall that it was the year 1976.

Every Saturday, my dad had an off-day from his medical practice. He would take us out for a weekly outing that consists of dining, shopping and a movie night. My sister and I used to look forward to this every weekend because it meant dinner and a getaway.

Influenced by my parents to read

We would also visit Hobby Corner (a bookstore) every Saturday, where we used to rent magazines, comics, and books for the following week to read. This was the part that would always get me excited – The bookstore was like a magical realm for me, where I could delve deep into the vast array of selections, and choose what I was interested in reading.

My range of reading and knowledge acquisition on fiction and non-fiction varied as I grew up and ranged from comics like Superman, Batman, Archies to thrillers from Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, to autobiographies of Mahatma Gandhi and so on.

These are a few favourite comics from my childhood, which I nostalgically compiled.
These are a few favourites from my childhood, which I nostalgically compiled. Image courtesy of author.

My parents have always encouraged me to develop my reading habits, and these frequent trips to the bookstore had helped me in that. I grew to enjoy everything I read and would look forward to a new visit weekly so that I could choose a new book again. While the constant reading kept me happy, I realised that there were so many things that I’ve forgotten after reading.

In the past, I’ve never thought that taking notes would help in the retention of knowledge. Most of the time, I’ve only done it for academic purposes. Looking back, I wished I had written some notes on any comic books or non-fiction books I’ve read, or even on the movies I’ve watched.

My 3R formula in knowledge retention

In the last couple of years, the way I read, write and create summaries of my reads have changed drastically. Here are some of the steps that I take to improve the way I read:

The 3R Formula (Read-Retain-Reproduce).
The 3R (Read-Retain-Reproduce) Formula. Image courtesy of author

Read

Whatever it is that you read, there might be something that is worth remembering. What I usually do while reading is to highlight the interesting snippets or sentences that I feel are worth retaining and remembering. By going through this process, it helps me to single out the parts that I would want to revisit again afterwards for deeper thoughts.

Review & Retain.

When I’ve finished reading, it is important to return back to revisit the points that I’ve highlighted to review them. Some of those can be thought-provoking, and by reviewing them, it helps me to formulate my own thoughts. This will help me in retaining the information that I’ve just read in the book

Reproduce

The knowledge is never yours unless you have absorbed it fully and reproduce it as yours. Once I’ve fully digested everything, I would start writing my blogs and articles, or reproduce the content for my youtube channel with what I’ve learnt. This has helped me greatly in productivity.


This article was edited for clarity. You can read the original piece here.

Anshul Kumar is a productivity consultant, YouTuber, and blogger who strives to write rich and meaningful content. He enjoys exploring the principles, strategies, and tools that help people live happier, healthier, more productive lives. While he’s most active on YouTube, he also writes a fair bit about productivity, tech, effective study techniques, entrepreneurship, personal finance, and more. Read more of his articles on Nextgen Digital and also on Our Productivity, along with Book Notes from some of his favourite books, and a review of some of his favourite tech products and apps. You can sign up for his weekly newsletter here.

Disclaimer: This article was written by a community contributor. All content is written by and reflects the personal perspective of the author himself. If you’d like to contribute, you can apply here

WRITTEN BY

Anshul Kumar

Anshul Kumar is a productivity consultant, YouTuber, and blogger who strives to write rich and meaningful content. He enjoys exploring the principles, strategies, and tools that help people live happier, healthier, more productive lives. While he’s most active on YouTube, he also write a fair bit about productivity, tech, effective study techniques, entrepreneurship, personal finance, and more.

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