Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Waking Up Our Brains with Color

There is new research which shows that overusing one color of highlighter or pen may turn off our brains. Having a variety in use is the best way to learn important information. Another way COLOR helps us!

"The first question I ask students is what color highlighter do you use?" Gross says. "Yellow? Pink? Orange? The 'trick' is to use all of the colors. I tell them that if they only use one color, they might as well not even bother because their brains will surely 'turn off' as if they were reading black and white.
"Instead, students should use numerous colors to highlight important sections on the page," Gross continues. "I also encourage using multicolored pens, which are useful when taking notes in the margins. Margins are especially good for recording supporting details, while highlighters do an exemplary job of pinpointing main ideas."
Ever read to the end of a page and then ask yourself, "What in the world did I just read?" This is an all-too common problem, which is why Gross says it's essential to constantly wake up your brain by changing the colors to keep your brain engaged.
Another popular study technique is the use of ubiquitous flash cards for vocabulary, spelling, math facts, etc., but Gross says most students are not using them to their fullest potential by making a common mistake: using only white index cards.
"Index cards come in so many great pastels and bright neon colors, so it's important to use all different colors and mix them up," Gross explains. "Turn on the creative (gestalt) side of your brain! You can enhance short- term and long-term memory by consciously activating this side of your brain. Try adding pictures as well as doodles when inspired. Above all, be imaginative."
During her more than two decades of working with students, Gross says she has seen first-hand their test scores improve significantly when utilizing these study techniques. Most importantly, she adds, students say that studying has become a more enjoyable experience.
"These study tips are for students of any age and can greatly aid in retention, memorization as well as remove learning blocks," Gross says. "So, the next time you have to hit the books, don't forget to bring in the color, stock up on multicolored pens and highlighters, and have fun while you pump up those grades."

About Linda Gross
Linda Gross has a Master's Degree in Reading Psychology and is a state-certified reading specialist with over 25 years' experience in education. Having completed extensive post-graduate work in Reading Psychology at Temple University, she continues to take courses to enhance her ability to serve people.

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I am on my way to buy colorful markers, pens, and index cards, how about you? 

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