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How Teachers Can Support Verbal Memory

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Study Skills & Tools Universal Design for Learning Special Education All Ages Strategy

Skills

Verbal Memory

How Teachers Can Support Verbal Memory

Forget what's gone, appreciate what remains, and look forward to what's coming next.
— Unknown

Verbal memory refers to how you store and remember word-based information you read or hear.

When It Matters

Students use verbal memory to remember the details of what they read or what was said during class presentations or conversations, as well as when studying facts or vocabulary for tests. Helping students understand how they use their verbal memory, and learn strategies that work for them, can help them become much more efficient in their studying.

What To Keep In Mind When Supporting Your Student

  1. For students with weak verbal memory, it can be very confusing why they understand the information discussed in class or read in a book, but then are not meeting potential or performing well on tests.
  2. There are many memory strategies to choose from and students should try them out and then decide what makes studying easiest for them. Plan to introduce one strategy at a time, however, so they do not have have to remember more than they can handle.

Top Go-to Strategies

  1. Remind your student to take notes or jot down anything he thinks will be important at a later time. Building an awareness of what is essential to memorize and what they can get from notes is important.
  2. Make sure your students know that cramming or simply re-reading notes are the least effective ways to study. Once they learn other specific strategies, they will understand why.
  3. Teach students to space out their studying. Have them make study schedules when preparing for tests.
  4. Present information using multiple modes so that students can experience and take in the information using different pathways. Hearing, speaking, touching and moving to engage with information reinforces learning and retention.
  5. Teach students to link a picture to the information they are reading or memorizing.
  6. Remind students not to memorize everything at once. Teach them to break information into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  7. Help students make connections to what they already know, instead of relying on rote memorization.
  8. Students who learn effective note taking skills will have an easier time going back and studying what they learned in class.
  9. Have students try out other research-based memorization strategies and decide what is comfortable for them. Ultimately, it is most important that your student begins to recognize and adapt when a weaker skill is interfering in learning. Middle or High School students can use this checklist to become more self-aware of their verbal memory. And find additional ideas for a student who has an IEP or 504 Plan here.