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Reading Something Aloud Can Help You Remember It

Reading Something Aloud Can Help You Remember It

Whether you’re studying for a test or trying to memorize a new phone number, saying it aloud will help you remember it.

Good news! If you talk to yourself to help you remember things: A study shows that speaking—or singing and dancing—out loud can help improve long-term memory.

In a study, researchers from Canada’s University of Waterloo had groups of students focus on dozens of words either by hearing a recording of their own voice saying the words, by hearing someone else say them, by reading the words silently or by reading them aloud. Afterwards, the students were shown the words and asked if they had just studied them or not. Those who read the words aloud were far more able to remember them correctly, around 77 percent of the time.

It seems like combining reading and vocalization activates two parts of the brain and involves physical motion—a sure-fire way to strengthen memory muscles. So, the next time you want to remember a phone number or a document at work, find a spot where you can read it aloud. (BTW, it doesn’t have to be loud.) And if anyone asks, you’re not talking to yourself. You’re doing brain exercises!

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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