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Using Visual-Spatial Strengths to Memorize New Material (page 2)

By — Visual Spatial Resource Center
Updated on Dec 16, 2008

When you read them going down, the first letter of each of the lakes spells out the word, "homes." Creating acronyms and mnemonic devices are a helpful way to memorize a wide variety of material, especially if you can make the acronym stand for something silly, because humor engages the right hemisphere of the brain, the strongest side for visual-spatial learners. My oldest son, Sam, recently had to memorize this information for his science class::

Domain
Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
Species

So he created these silly "headlines" to remember the order:

Darwin Kracks Porpoise Code Orders Families to Group Specialist
Dudes Kick the bucket in Pennsylvania while Clubs Offer Free Grape Soup

They're meaningless and ridiculous, which makes them memorable! Try this with your kids the next time they have a string of material to memorize.

A dear friend of mine wrote me with this:

I took an exhausting/exhilarating 16-hour reflexology certification course this past weekend. I was told that memorizing the official 47-word definition of reflexology - exactly, word for word, was worth 15 points on the Certification exam. First I thought, I can never do this. Then, I decided I would make a song out of it!! I put it to a familiar tune! THAT came from YOU!! (Personal communication, E. Meckstroth, October, 2004.)

Put the information your children are trying to memorize to the tune of a familiar song, like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, or Three Blind Mice, or even Happy Birthday. Always remember, visual-spatial learners thrive on the use of color, humor, music, hands-on activities-anything that gets the right hemisphere of the brain into the act. Such techniques are sure to make the learning fun and permanent.

Create a game out of new material your children are learning. This works great for memorizing capitals to states, countries to continents, specific animals of a species, or any other information that includes two groups of data that are related to each other. Matching games like "Concentration" don't take long to create, are fun to play and can help you remember which information goes with what. Just take some blank white index cards for recording your information. You can create each note card with words or drawings, whatever works best for your children .

Let's suppose they are trying to memorize the states' capitals. Make a card for every state, using an outline of the shape of the state with the name of that state included somewhere on or above the outline of it. Then, make a card for every capital. You can make up silly stories if that helps remember the names of the capitals. (Springfield, IL could include a drawing of a field of springs, for example.)

You can also use color to help your children remember which capitals go with which states. Just have them include color in the drawing or put a dot of color somewhere and use the same color on the card that matches. This will be a good way to confirm your selections as they play the game, too.

Once all the cards have been created, lay them face down and play the traditional game of concentration where you match capital to state. (You'll probably want to start with just five or seven states and their capitals and gradually increase the number.)

No matter what material must be memorized, show your children how to call upon their strengths-using color, humor, music, rhyme, etc.-to learn it and be able to recall it later.

From Golon, A.S., If You Could See the Way I Think, (in press) Denver: DeLeon Publishing.

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