Ways to Improve Memory Skills

Memory is a foundational skill necessary for all learning. Students with poor memory skills may find it difficult to recall instructions, to recall letters/ numbers/ words as well as impacting on academic learning in areas such as reading, spelling and maths.

Important factors for learning new tasks and concepts successfully:

  • Frequency of learning: need repeated exposure
  • Intensity of learning: need to practice intensely
  • Cross training: teach different types of skills to encourage different types of memory being used (short term memory, working memory, long term memory)
  • Adaptivity: differentiate learning for each individual student’s needs (e.g. visual/ auditory/kinaestheticandtactile learners)

Explicit teaching of memory strategies:

  • Repetition (saying the instruction/ information over and over)
  • Visualisation (visualising the instruction/information)
  • Grouping the information together
  • Recalling information sequentially
  • Write down the instruction/ information
  • Retell instructions/ information to another person

Regular participation in memory games:

  • Group games (e.g. ‘Simon says…’, ‘I went to the beach and I bought ….’)
  • iPad and internet memory games
  • Watch You Tube clips and afterwards ask questions to encourage recall of information
  • Memory trays (revealing and hiding objects)
  • Card Memory Games

Ensure tasks are achievable by gradually increasing the amount of information to recall as the students ability to recall improves. Frequent repetition of memory strategies is recommended in a variety of contexts (e.g. memory games, academic work, visual reminders) to assist in transferring memory skills across settings. Memory games can be easily incorporated into the classroom and everyday life. Making them fun and engaging for students will not only enhance their memory skills but their overall learning.

Written by Tanya Currie (Occupational Therapist) from Let’s Talk Development Hub

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