Yesterday I shared a scripture verse we are going to start memorizing this week. Today I thought I’d share some of what we do when we’re memorizing to keep it fun and productive.
How to Help Little Ones Memorize
We’ve memorized several things so far this year including the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star-Spangled Banner, Articles of Faith, and Sammi’s parts in last year’s Primary Program. Sammi, 5, has a knack for memorizing quickly and I’ve been impressed with how long she’ll remember things we’ve memorized. Elli, 3, has less interest in memorizing but tends to pick things up incidentally, over time. Here are some of the things we do to increase exposure and make memorizing fun.
In addition to the written words of what we’re memorizing, we find pictures that help us understand the meaning of what we’re memorizing. This is especially great for pre-readers since they aren’t really helped by written-word cues, but pictures can help them remember specific words.
Elli, especially, is a movement kind of kid. She loves moving, dancing, leaping and wiggling. While movement is often distracting for adults, this is not true for kids. They are great listeners even when they are moving. It takes a lot of concentration to keep a little body still and usually there just isn’t any left over for concentrating on memorizing. So we add movement to what we’re memorizing.
You could make up actions that match specific words in your passage. This is a great vocabulary builder as well because it helps them grasp the meaning of new words and the overall message of what they’re memorizing. Sometimes I’ll say “Touch your toes then head.” Then for every word we’ll go down and touch our toes then on the next word stand up and touch our heads. We vary the actions each time we repeat what we’re memorizing. Elli really loves doing this. We can repeat a passage ten times before she loses interest.
Setting new words to music speeds the memorizing process. Music is memorable. Using that to help little ones memorize creates lifelong memories. I still remember all 50 States in alphabetical order because we learned that song in second grade. Somethings we memorize already have music, like songs and the Articles of Faith. But other things don’t. I just say it in a sing-songy voice till a familiar tune emerges. Nursery rhyme melodies and traditional kids’ songs are great, simple, already familiar tunes that help little ones memorize something new.
I print a copy of what we want to memorize. Then I have rectangles of construction paper. For each time we go through the passage one person gets to choose a rectangle (there are different colors) and then choose which words to cover up with their rectangle. We take turns, we make choices, we respect each others’ choices and we work as a team. Going through the passage this way keeps my little ones’ interest longer because they love the anticipation of it being their turn again along with the surprise of what someone else will choose.
We often do a combination of several of these at one time. This list addresses four different learning styles from Multiple Intelligences theory. Namely, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, musical and interpersonal. Approaching the task of memorizing with an arsenal of activities creates enjoyment and memories that will last as long as, if not longer than, the passage you memorize together.
Other resources for memorization that inspire us:
Scripture Memorization by Kris on The Homeschool Classroom
Incorporating the 2012 Primary Theme in Family Memory Work by Tristan of Our Busy Homeschool
What have your little ones memorized that has surprised you?
I babysat a three-amost-four year old who had an entire, long Clifford book memorized. I was astounded. This was my first experience with how extensive little kids’ memories are.