Logo Homeschool World ® Official Web Site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine Practical Homeschooling Magazine
Practical Homeschooling® :

Thanks for the Memory!

By June Oberlander
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #56, 2004.

How to train your preschooler's memory.

   Pin It

June Oberlander

Your preschooler needs to establish good listening skills early so that her or she can comprehend and remember what you're trying so hard to teach. Unfortunately, many preschoolers are only passive listeners, who quickly forget what they just heard.

Poor listening skills can be due to lack of interest, inattentiveness, or laziness. These need to be overcome to create active learners.

You can see the same difference between children who really can read (active readers) and passive "readers" who memorize words and think they are reading. Such children simply read words with no recall or comprehension and promptly forget the very sentence they just finished "reading"! The reading information was not properly transferred to the brain because the memory was not actively storing the data. Therefore, little learning took place.

Rhymes & Tunes Help

Learning is easy as long as it relates to something that makes sense. That's why your brain easily recognizes and remembers patterns. Rhymes - which are patterns in sound - are one example of how patterns help us learn.

The left side of the brain controls basic learning such as reading, math, reasoning, and writing. The right side of the brain controls emotions, creativity, and music. Using both sides of the brain to learn and remember is ideal, but most people use primarily the left side of the brain. Music and rhyming, which involve the right side of the brain, help to balance brain function, and are a great help to your child's memory. That's why it's so easy to remember what we sing!

Start Them Young!

It is important to nurture memory skills very early in life. Young children need to be taught how to remember important facts and experiences so that they will become good learners. It is hard to remember something if it doesn't make sense. Therefore, information and skills presented to young children should be meaningful and interesting to learn.

Learning problems arise when the memory has not been properly trained. The brain must first be trained to receive, associate, and place information in an organized manner in order for it to acquire and store knowledge. The lack of such training is one reason why many children do not enjoy learning.

It is helpful if your training is introduced in a fun manner. A game or fun activity, such as the one above, often grabs a child's attention, quickly involving him actively and emotionally so that he or she is ready for learning. Connecting a concept to be learned (e.g., colors) with something familiar and attractive (colored eggs) makes learning easier.

Memory Deficits Need Extra Training

We've talked about active and passive learning, but memory may also be classified in other ways: visual memory, auditory memory, or memory involving sensory perception. Children can experience deficits in one or more memory areas. Some children even have difficulty distinguishing tastes and smells. Therefore, extra training for the natural senses may be necessary in order for the child's brain to receive information that he can remember and learn.

Many preschool children can easily recite the alphabet and count by rote, yet they have no idea what this means or how to use it. Your child may recognize the letters or numbers, but they are useless until he or she learns to associate and organize them for instant recall.

Small Steps to Start

Short-term memory does not allow us to retain information for very long. Long-term memory enables us to store meaningful information for a longer period of time. Short-term memory skills are a necessary prerequisite to long-term memory. So start with simple steps you ask your child to follow. Make sure your child is interested in the activity. Then you can show him how to associate a new fact or concept with something familiar. He can then try to organize the new information by repeating what he has learned or putting items in order.

For example, a young child may be taught to recognize the color red in the following manner. Show the child something red. Next encourage the child to find something in the room that is red or has red in it. The child has to remember what the color red looks like so that he can find something red. The child can then store this information in his short-term memory. The child may delight in playing the game "I Spy" throughout the day and can be encouraged to "spy" as many things red as he can. Later the child may be encouraged to color something red and also to find and cut out something red from a magazine. Using the concept of red in many ways will enable the child to become confident as he transfers this information from his short-term memory to his long-term memory.

Each color should be introduced individually in the same manner as the color red. I suggest teaching the primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) first before teaching the secondary colors (orange, green, and purple). Later, you can introduce matching and sorting games that will help your child reinforce his knowledge of colors.

Shapes, numbers, letters, phone numbers, words, and other basic concepts can all be taught in this manner. To avoid frustration and learning blocks, I suggest that you introduce only one new concept at a time - such as one color, shape, number, or letter - before proceeding to gradually combine them.

The more connections the brain can make to learn a concept, the more efficient it becomes. Your goal is to maximize your child's brain cells to their fullest potential. How much your child will remember as an adult is determined by how well his brain has been trained to organize, interpret, and recall... because memory is vital to learning.

Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:

USA Individual
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library

University of Nebraska High School
Free Email Newsletter!
Sign up to receive our free email newsletter, and up to three special offers from homeschool providers every week.

Articles by June Oberlander

Getting Ready for Reading

Perception Training

Thanks for the Memory!

Turning Junk into Educational Treasures

Money Readiness: Play Store

Learning Motor Skills

Popular Articles

AP Courses At Home

The Benefits of Debate

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

Joyce Swann's Homeschool Tips

A Reason for Reading

Phonics the Montessori Way

Teach Your Children to Work

Whole-Language Boondoggle

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

The Equal Sign - Symbol, Name, Meaning

Getting Organized Part 1 - Tips & Tricks

Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy

Saxon Math: Facts vs. Rumors

Give Yourself a "CLEP Scholarship"

University Model Schools

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

A Homeschooler Wins the Heisman

How to Win the Geography Bee

Advanced Math: Trig, PreCalc, and more!

Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

The Gift of a Mentor

The Charlotte Mason Method

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers

How to "Bee" a Spelling Success

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

Shakespeare Camp

The Charlotte Mason Approach to Poetry

Teaching Blends

Combining Work and Homeschool

The History of Public Education

I Was an Accelerated Child

Art Appreciation the Charlotte Mason Way

Bears in the House

Start a Nature Notebook

Character Matters for Kids

Top Tips for Teaching Toddlers

Getting Organized Part 3

Critical Thinking and Logic

Montessori Math

What We Can Learn from the Homeschooled 2002 National Geography Bee Winners

Narration Beats Tests

Who Needs the Prom?

Columbus and the Flat Earth...

What Does My Preschooler Need to Know?

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

Laptop Homeschool

Myth of the Teenager

Classical Education

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1

Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
Copyright ©1993-2021 Home Life, Inc.