Reading Issues for Adults With ADHD
Adults with ADHD also face some of the same issues with reading. While research on reading issues for adults with ADHD is limited, several issues could be at play.
It is not unusual to become derailed by internal thoughts or external distractions, particularly when reading something uninteresting or downright boring. You may frequently find that you are losing your place or skipping words in longer passages because you are visually distracted by all the words on the page.5
You may have trouble identifying and remembering the main points of what you’ve just read. You may simply zone out and become sleepy while reading.
How to Remember What You Read
To help yourself to stay focused and attentive so that you can remember what you’ve read, try one or more of these strategies. Experiment to see what helps you.
Read aloud instead of silently. This may take longer, but it will help you to focus on each word.
Walk or pace around while you read. This strategy may help you avoid zoning out or focusing on internal distractions instead of the words on the page.
Take brief breaks for movement.
Use audiobooks or have someone read to you.6 This approach is especially helpful for people who learn through listening or are easily overwhelmed when faced with a page full of text.
Opt for a hard copy. Researchers have discovered that comprehension is better when reading a physical book versus an e-book.7
Talk about what you have just read. Discuss it with a friend, or just talk aloud to yourself.
Use highlighter pens to underscore main points. Not only will this keep you focused, but it will also help you to recall the main points.
Take notes while reading, then go back and summarize the main points.
Use a bookmark or ruler to slide down the page as you read each line, so you don’t lose your place.
Divide the material into smaller, more manageable chunks. Then take a break and reward yourself after each section.
Adapt your environment. Figure out what works best for you: a quiet reading area or one with some background noise.
Eliminate distractions. Is your phone on silent? Is the door closed? Are you hungry? Are you too cold or too hot? Think about and eliminate any distractions that might interfere with your reading.
Read at the right time. If you’re feeling tired or fatigued, for example, it will be that much harder to focus and absorb what you read.
Keep a pad of paper nearby. If you get distracted by internal thoughts, jot down the thought in order to remember it and get back to it at a later time. Once you have jotted the thought down, set it aside for later.
Make the content personal. Think about how it relates to your own likes and dislikes and personal experiences.
Read it twice. Reading something a second time will not only allow you to better understand what you’ve read but also help you to pick up any information you missed the first time around.