Jason Rodrigues

Rereading: The Illusion of learning

Re-reading is probably among the worse things to do when we lose context amidst a read. It satisfies the short term memory with an image of what text you dropped but doesn’t really lead to deep-rooted value.

When you re-read in the process of learning, your mind thinks it’s understood what it set out to understand, but only in the ephemeral sense. A counter-argument to this would be that all things we learn are retained only in the ephemeral sense unless we repeat it after a gap. However, there could be ways to avoid this in the short-term as well.

It’s easy for the mind to go into auto-pilot when reading text that is convoluted – spotting when this happens is half the battle. What we do to get ourselves back on track is key. We could go back to the start of the paragraph and re-read the whole thing: common practice.

My take on this and something that I’ve been trying to practice is: Resist the urge to go back and read. Instead, choose to derive context and predict based on the flow where the author was going with this. This is a method that Lucas Miller endorses in his book Beyond Brilliance.

Next time you’re reading try this and watch it enhance presence.

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