Why Highlighting Textbooks Is One of The Worst Techniques



Parents, does this look familiar to you?

highlight textbook

Your child is supposed to highlight only the main points, but instead, he ended up highlighting the majority of his textbook with 3 different colors.

To make the matters worse, when your child decides to review his material, the multi-colored textbook became harder to read and comprehend.

To be honest, underlining and highlighting a word without using the correct techniques is one of the least effective ways to study.

Why? Let’s run through this scenario. Your child’s objective is to mark out the important segments in every page. After which, your child starts to highlight the sentences that look important to him.

So what happens to your brain-neuron level?

You are just telling your brain to remember a bunch of words that it is important, not what it should understand. In layman terms, the brain struggles to memorize by creating new neuron connections, without fully understanding what it means.

The real problem?

Aside from not internalizing all the knowledge properly, the brain will try to remember everything because to your kid, every highlighted word is important. This bad study habit leads to too much mental tension and the inability to comprehend his lessons.

If this bad study habit keeps on happening, your child will have poor memory retention. Poor retention is caused by stress, lack of motivation and the desire to learn. If your child has no understanding of the subject matter, he cannot convert the information into long-term memory.

Using the senses and other factors during study

Remember how we remember a movie by heart that we tend to memorize the actors’ dialogue? We watch a certain movie because we can relate and connect to it. We see the big picture and visualize, hear every word and even convey strong feelings while finishing the movie. When several senses are used, our favorite movie sticks to us for life.

Same as studying, if paired with a stress-free environment and deep focus, we can take in all the important knowledge that we need properly and turn them into long-term memory later on.

Memory techniques 

To help your child fully understand his lessons well, he should apply memory techniques into his study to boost his memory retention.

  1. Consolidation

This technique will help your child to turn new information into long-term memory.  When we sleep, our brains regenerate the brain activity throughout the day to reinforce the memories and make them stay longer. This is why we tend to dream of the things we see during the day.  To introduce your child to consolidation, start by asking your child about his day and what he has learned new. If he can, ask him to explain it to you and his feelings about what he has learned. During the weekends or free time, take the chance to study with him.

  1. Association

Teach your child to link new information to things that he is familiar with. There are no limits to this technique. Some common techniques are acronyms, acrostics, analogies, codes, musical jingles and rhymes. If he can associate his study to a joke or anything funny to him, that is better. Everyday practice and relation to life experiences are also good examples.

  1. Distribution

Stress is one cause of poor memory retention. Cramming and procrastination lead to stress. Your child can easily ace an exam by remembering all at once but in essence, he is not actually learning, which is a complete waste of time. Instead of studying before the exam day for 10 hours, why not study for 2 hours every day before the exams? Multitasking is not always a good habit. Before your child goes to sleep, tell him to self-quiz himself and review.