I like to think about an approach to learning that is holistic—that is to say, true learning takes place when several of our minds’ component parts work together in unison. Recent research in neurology suggests that our brains are composed of many component parts. For example, different areas of our brain control different senses and motor functions. In fact, the area of the brain that deals with speech is not even relatively close to the area that deals with reading and language (this is one reason why reading our own writing out loud is an effective proof reading strategy—your “speech” area will notice things that your “language,” “reading,” or “vision” areas overlooked). This also suggests that the more centers in our brain we can get to resonate at once, the more likely we are to acquire and retain information, so be fully engaged while you read and write.
It’s a Workout for your Mind
I see physical exercise and mental exercise as analogous to each other. Just as you want to fully engage your body when you’re working out in order to achieve the best results, you ought to fully engage your mind when you’re learning. I know thinking is difficult. So is working out when you’re out of shape like I am. I can tell you from experience though that working out—both physically and mentally—gets easier the more you do it.