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Old 01-26-2013, 01:28 PM   #1
tmclough
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Mental activities while reading

Before I get to my question, some background info about me: I have a difficult time concentrating, whether it's while reading, listening, or whatever. You could say that I have symptoms of AD(H)D, but without the hyperfocus. One thing I've found that helps while listening to podcasts, for example, is to engage in other activities at the same time that use other parts of the brain. A couple of examples that work for me are solving Sudokus and solving jigsaw puzzles. I know that a lot of other people find doodling helpful. All of these activities use different parts of the brain from listening.

However, none of these activities mentioned above work while reading--they all require the eyes, just as reading does. This leads to my question: Does anybody have any suggestions for activities that use other parts of the brain from reading, and that can be performed at the same time as reading? I know that some people do exercising (e.g., treadmill, stationary bike) while reading, but that doesn't really use that much of the rest of the brain; my mind would continue to wander to other areas while trying to read. (Plus, those types of exercise are borrrrrrrring, which means they wouldn't last very long for me. I don't own a car, so I get my exercise walking around town, but that requires paying attention to traffic, etc., so that's no good either.)

I know one option is to listen to audio books, as they require the same parts of the brain as podcasts, hence the same second activities (Sudokus, jigsaw puzzles, doodling) to activate the rest of the brain. However, most of the books I like to read (Star Trek) are not available in audio book format, especially not unabridged. So, even that's not totally an option.

So, like I asked before, does anybody have any ideas on what I (or anybody else in my situation) could do as a second activity to engage other parts of the brain while reading?
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:48 PM   #2
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Back when my wrists would allow it, I'd knit while listening to podcasts or audio books.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:19 PM   #3
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Knitting, gardening, sewing, housework
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:15 PM   #4
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I sometimes will listen to instrumental music while I'm reading. Especially if it is for a class or something. It helps me judge how much time is passing and to better focus on what I'm reading.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:55 PM   #5
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I always have TV or music on while I'm reading.
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:31 PM   #6
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Astonishing. Unthinkable for me. Reading absorbs me fully. My family usually jokes every thief could empty the room I'm reading in undisturbed. Doing anything else while reading leads to postponing the reading in my case.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:03 PM   #7
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The only thing I do while reading is eat a snack or pet the cat. I can't stand any noise of any kind while reading except hubby's snoring. I am use to it. Hubby has his headphones so he can watch TV while I read.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:58 PM   #8
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I find listening to JS Bach at a reasonable, but low, level, allows me to concentrate my reading and to retain what I've read. Excellent as a study tool, but also excellent for when reading books that involve deeper thinking to absorb, eg philosophy or factual laden books.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piperclassique View Post
Knitting, gardening, sewing, housework
Are those activities you do while reading, or listening (to audio books, etc.)? They sound to me like activities while listening; I'm looking for activities to do while reading.

If they are done while reading, please forgive my ignorance and enlighten me!

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Originally Posted by ucfgrad93 View Post
I sometimes will listen to instrumental music while I'm reading.
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I always have TV or music on while I'm reading.
I forgot to mention music. (My mind must have wandered. ) Instrumental music, or even white or pink noise, can be useful when in a room with a lot of conversations going on; the sound helps drown out what they are saying, but my headphones still let me hear when something important is being announced (and I can take them off then). However, even music isn't enough for me to concentrate on reading. It adds a nice background sound, but it doesn't really use much of the brain, the way, say, jigsaw puzzles do while listening to podcasts.

So, music is a good idea, just not good enough.

Any other suggestions?
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:11 PM   #10
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I know white noise - what is pink noise?

I looked it up on wikipedia, but don't understand a word of the explanation.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:25 PM   #11
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I know white noise - what is pink noise?

I looked it up on wikipedia, but don't understand a word of the explanation.
It basically sounds like white noise, just at a lower pitch (or, more technically, the lower the frequency, the higher the volume).
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:39 PM   #12
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even white or pink noise, can be useful when in a room with a lot of conversations going on; the sound helps drown out what they are saying, but my headphones still let me hear when something important is being announced
I was going to suggest classical music, as others have, until I read this. What kind of circumstances are you trying to read in? A room with noisy people in? If so, it's not surprising that you have concentration problems.

Perhaps you need to find a quiet space in which to read.

Otherwise, I'd recommend classical music.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by tmclough View Post
I forgot to mention music. (My mind must have wandered. ) Instrumental music, or even white or pink noise, can be useful when in a room with a lot of conversations going on; the sound helps drown out what they are saying, but my headphones still let me hear when something important is being announced (and I can take them off then). However, even music isn't enough for me to concentrate on reading. It adds a nice background sound, but it doesn't really use much of the brain, the way, say, jigsaw puzzles do while listening to podcasts.

So, music is a good idea, just not good enough.

Any other suggestions?
Can you listen to a podcast or talk radio while reading?
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:52 PM   #14
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I know exactly what you are talking about because I have the same problem. Mostly I listen to audio books, and I even convert my ebooks (epubs) to electronic audio books when I don't want to buy or can't find the professional ones.

I've gotten to where sitting and "reading" is very difficult for me. However I have one, out of the box, suggestion.

It's what I do for movies I'm not sure I want to see, and it works great for non-fiction books, e.g. school books.

Read the chapter "backwards". Not word for word, but section by section. If there is not a definitive section, then several paragraphs at a time. Eventually you'll either get to the front of the chapter, or are versed enough in the content to start at the beginning of the chapter and read through.

(Yes, I'm one of those people who have to read the ending before I read the book. [or end of the movie before I watch it] I have a problem with stress, and even the stress of a well written mystery can cause me problems. Whereas I will re-read a good book hundreds of times because I know how it will end. I'm looking for technique and details.)

I hope this wierd suggestion might help.

AJ

PS I have a folder full of mazes I drew in school while listening to the teachers.

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Old 01-26-2013, 07:16 PM   #15
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I was going to suggest classical music, as others have, until I read this. What kind of circumstances are you trying to read in? A room with noisy people in? If so, it's not surprising that you have concentration problems.

Perhaps you need to find a quiet space in which to read.

Otherwise, I'd recommend classical music.
Even when I'm at home (I live alone), listening to classical or other instrumental music, my mind still wanders a lot while trying to read.
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
Can you listen to a podcast or talk radio while reading?
Unfortunately, they both require the part of the brain that processes language, hence it would have to be one or the other, or, more likely, neither.


I'm starting to wonder if one reason I can do puzzles (Sudoku, jigsaw) while listening is because puzzles are about as close as I'll get to hyperfocus; i.e., they can be very addictive for me. (Even after the podcast is over, I'll still want to do "Just one more piece! Just one more piece! Really, this is the last one! Ooo, I'm getting somewhere--let me just do a little more!" ) That said, they don't make me achieve hyperfocus, as I can still listen to podcasts, etc.

Just a thought.
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