5 Reading Activities That Can Help Enhance Your Child’s Memory
Inspired by motherhood and an economic recession, I returned to school to study education at a postgraduate level. In my educational psychology classes, I learned how reading forced the brain to dredge up key information already stored in the short-term and long-term memory. This process helps the reader make sense of what is being read.
My children became my research subjects. I knew that a good working memory was necessary for reading and learning; the positive outcomes I was expecting made me excited about this experiment. And what sane parent wouldn’t do their best to enhance their children’s memory? In fact, I desperately wanted my children to learn to concentrate and follow instructions in the classroom.
So off I went to a couple of bookstores. I bought a few books and handed them to my kids. The results were remarkable. Not only did my hyperactive daughter learn new words, she also became more attentive in class and less disruptive. Reading improved her working memory by teaching her brain to manipulate information stored in the short-term memory.
For the purpose of this article, I will discuss the ways in which enhancing a child’s working memory can be linked to their reading confidence, improved vocabulary and comprehension. Below is the top five of the tips and tricks on my list. If you want to improve your child’s memory, the following reading activities will help a great deal.
1. Link Emotional States To Information
Educational psychologists have revealed that a child’s memory processes information in several ways; this is especially the case if the information has been processed emotionally.
Perhaps you should try this technique. For instance, if the child is reading a book about spiders, encourage them to imagine how it would feel to spin a web over ten centimeters or one kilometer. This helps the child connect the information he or she has learned to the feeling of spinning a cobweb.
It is important to be creative. Learn new ways to connect details and facts to the things they already know by heart. This will help sharpen their memorizing and concentration skills.
2. Discuss The Text You’ve Read
Another technique involves talking about the book you or the child have just finished reading. Do this immediately after the reading activity. You can ask the child to summarize the passage or the events of the novel or comic book.
If the child has a flair for drawing, encourage them to draw pictures of the characters or scenes from the literature. As much as possible, encourage the child to narrate the events in chronological order. Feel free to ask leading questions that emphasize key facts in the book.
Post-reading questions may go along similar lines:
- Why did the princess run away from the palace?
- What did Ade’s parents do after they lost their jobs?
- Why did Ade cry when his parents relocated to Ikot Ekpene?
- How did the children tend to their mother’s garden in the Harmattan season?
3. Prime The Child’s Memory
Memory priming is best done right before the child settles down to read the book. Help them prepare for the reading experience by giving them an idea of what to expect and what to look out for in the story or the book. Depending on the child’s age, you can choose to discuss the vocabulary and perhaps the themes in the literature.
Priming the child’s memory simplifies the learning process for the child so that the child can easily comprehend the text. This is especially important when the text to be studied is a lengthy one.
4. Rehearse Categorizing Words and Concepts
New theories, ideas and words are easier to remember when they are arranged into different categories. Education experts have revealed that children remember more when category prompts are used. So rather than leave children to remember concepts on their own, perhaps you should use more category clues.
Do your able best to help the child remember new words and ideas from the book. If, for instance, the book features dinosaurs, encourage your child to name the different kinds of dinosaurs in the text.
Go the extra mile of grouping the dinosaurs into different categories. You can class the animals by their habitats, their foods or their modes of movement. A book about Singaporean geography might require them to categorize words under rivers, traditions, clothing or language. Associative learning of this kind is effective in boosting the child ability to read, comprehend and acquire a rich vocabulary.
To improve your child’s memory, help them categorize ideas and words.
5. Encourage The Child To Practice Active Reading
When children start reading, they often pay more attention to pronouncing the words. Comprehending the meanings of the words often comes later. As your child progresses in their reading, encourage them to become active readers.
Active reading involves making notes on the margins and underlining key points. This will make them more likely to understand the texts as well as remember important points. Whatever their choice, help them categorize ideas gleaned from the book they have just read.
Experts recommend reading aloud as an effective memory technique too. When you read out loud as a team, place emphasis on important ideas by pausing. Another tactic is by emphasizing important words and ideas. Alternatively, explain the importance of an event or the meaning of a new word.
Reading helps improve children’s memory especially when a parent or a tutor is guiding the child. The child’s supervisor has to find creative ways to incorporate these activities into the kid’s daily routine.
What strategies have worked for you? Please share with us in the comments section.
Bio: Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam writes prose fiction and non-fiction. Her stories and articles have appeared in several blogs and literary magazines. She owns and manages creativewritingnews.com.