Memorization is possibly the worst way for a child to learn something. Kids grasp concepts better through hands-on experience and practice. However, they can’t completely escape the task of memorizing multiplication tables or a script for a school play. Here are some tips to help them remember these crucial facts.
Get a stack of index cards and write down the question on one side and the answer on the other. Then, engage your child in a game. Ask him to stand on the opposite side of the room. For every right answer he can step forward. For every wrong answer he has to step backward. This is a lot more fun than being left in a corner to wade through a list of facts all alone.
You can also teach your child mnemonic devices like a song or rhyme. It’s easier to retain facts, like the names of the states in alphabetical order, if they are sung to a familiar and catchy song. The nursery songs are also easy to reinvent: try singing along the names of the Chinese dynasties to “Jack and Jill.”
Try using mind maps, which can help a child visualize the relationship between facts and dates. This is very helpful for children who have strong ‘visual intelligence’ (read this article on multiple intelligence)
It’s also easier to memorize something that you understand. For example, if your child has to memorize the parts of a digestive system, make sure he understands the digestion process. Look at diagrams in books, or educational videos that explain anatomy to kids. Then it will be easier to memorize the little facts, since these are now meaningful and are not just long and random words in a list.
Memorization is also something that takes time. If your child is under time pressure he will not be able to understand or retain information. Teach him good study skills so that he studies and memorizes a part of the lesson every day, rather than trying to cram for an exam the night before.
Photo from uci.edu