Mastering the Art of Remembering: 7 Levels of Engaging with What You Read

Mastering the Art of Remembering: 7 Levels of Engaging with What You Read

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Level 1: The Muggle 2.1 Description 2.2 Pros 2.3 Cons
  3. Level 2: The Squib 3.1 Description 3.2 Pros 3.3 Cons
  4. Level 3: Hufflepuff 4.1 Description 4.2 Pros 4.3 Cons
  5. Level 4: Ravenclaw 5.1 Description 5.2 Pros 5.3 Cons
  6. Level 5: Dumbledore's Army 6.1 Description 6.2 Pros 6.3 Cons
  7. Level 6: Order of the Phoenix 7.1 Description 7.2 Pros 7.3 Cons
  8. Level 7: Dumbledore 8.1 Description 8.2 Pros 8.3 Cons
  9. Conclusion


The Journey of Remembering What You Read: Levels of Engaging with the Material

Reading plays a crucial role in personal development and lifelong learning. However, many of us struggle to remember and apply the information we read. In this article, we will explore the seven levels of engagement when trying to remember and apply what we read. Each level represents a different approach to reading, highlighting its benefits and drawbacks. By understanding and progressing through these levels, we can enhance our learning experience and make the most of the material we consume.

Level 1: The Muggle

At the first level, known as "The Muggle," we read passively without actively engaging with the material. We simply consume the content without highlighting, taking notes, or reflecting on the information. While this approach may be suitable for reading fiction, it hinders our ability to retain and apply knowledge from non-fiction books. Research shows that without active engagement, our memory for the content decays over time – a phenomenon known as the forgetting curve.


  • Quick and easy way to consume fiction books.
  • No additional effort required.


  • Limited retention of non-fiction content.
  • Inability to apply knowledge to real-life scenarios.

Level 2: The Squib

The second level, "The Squib," represents a slight improvement in engagement. At this stage, readers begin to highlight or underline key points that resonate with them. However, relying on physical highlights or annotations alone is not sufficient for effective memory retention. Studies indicate that this method does not significantly improve our ability to recall information. Moreover, the highlights are often stored away, making it unlikely for us to revisit them.


  • Identification of impactful parts of the text.
  • Provides a sense of involvement in the reading process.


  • Limited improvement in memory retention.
  • Difficulty in accessing highlighted content at a later stage.

Level 3: Hufflepuff

Level three, referred to as "Hufflepuff," involves the implementation of a systematic approach to reviewing highlights. By utilizing tools like Readwise, readers can retrieve their past highlights and receive daily emails with random selections from their reading history. While this method increases the chances of revisiting important content, it still relies on passive reading and does not actively facilitate knowledge application.


  • Easy access to past highlights.
  • Increased exposure to previously read content.


  • Heavily reliant on the tool used for highlight retrieval.
  • Insufficient support for active engagement and knowledge application.

Level 4: Ravenclaw

Moving to level four, "Ravenclaw," readers go beyond passive highlight retrieval and adopt a systematic system for consolidating their highlights. By incorporating tools like Notion, they create a central database of their highlights from various sources such as Kindle, articles, and tweets. This system allows for better organization and provides a platform for readers to actively review and engage with their previous highlights. However, it still requires self-discipline and commitment to revisit the highlights consistently.


  • Centralized collection of highlights.
  • Improved organization and accessibility.


  • Needs continual effort to review and engage with the highlights.
  • Lacks automated reminders for consistent review.

Level 5: Dumbledore's Army

At level five, or "Dumbledore's Army," readers take their engagement a step further by actively taking notes while reading. By summarizing books in three sentences and sharing their thoughts, readers gain a deeper understanding of the content. This level of engagement ensures active participation in the reading process and facilitates better comprehension and retention of the material.


  • Forces concise summarization of books.
  • Enhances understanding and comprehension.


  • Requires additional time and effort during the reading process.
  • Relies on the reader's ability to consolidate thoughts effectively.

Level 6: Order of the Phoenix

Level six, "Order of the Phoenix," involves creating detailed literature notes for books that have had a significant impact on the reader. These notes go beyond summarization and focus on capturing the key insights and concepts that resonate with the reader. By doing so, readers can consolidate their understanding and have a personal record of the lessons learned from each book. However, this level of engagement demands significant time and dedication.


  • In-depth exploration of impactful books.
  • Comprehensive records of personal insights.


  • Time-consuming and labor-intensive process.
  • Limited focus on practical application.

Level 7: Dumbledore

The highest level of engagement, "Dumbledore," introduces the concept of creating evergreen or permanent notes. These notes aim to capture atomic ideas and concepts from various sources, growing into a personal knowledge base. By linking these notes with other related topics, readers can uncover connections and deepen their understanding. This method requires a significant investment of time and effort but can result in a valuable resource for sharing knowledge with others.


  • Creation of a comprehensive knowledge base.
  • Enhanced understanding through interconnected concepts.


  • Requires substantial time and effort commitment.
  • Relies on effective organization and linking of notes.

In conclusion, engaging with the material we read is essential for effective learning and knowledge retention. By progressing through the seven levels, we can elevate our reading experience and gain the most from the content we consume. Starting with active highlighting and evolving into note-taking and knowledge consolidation, we can expand our understanding and apply the acquired knowledge. So, take the first step towards a more impactful reading journey by engaging with the material and enhancing your learning experience.


Q: How many levels are there in the journey of remembering what you read? A: There are seven levels in the journey of remembering what you read.

Q: What is the first level called? A: The first level is called "The Muggle."

Q: What is the highest level of engagement? A: The highest level of engagement is "Dumbledore."

Q: What are the benefits of active note-taking while reading? A: Active note-taking enhances comprehension, retention, and the ability to apply knowledge.

Q: Is there a recommended tool for organizing highlights and notes? A: Notion and Readwise are popular tools for organizing highlights and notes. However, readers can choose tools that suit their preferences and needs.

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