Ask Dr. Blank: How do I improve my child’s memory?

Good visual memory (that is, looking at a word and knowing immediately what it “says”) is central to effective reading.

One of the best ways to help a child improve their reading is to improve memory skills.

For example, children often ask parents how a word is spelled. When this request is made, parents often say the letters and the child writes them down. This is an automatic response that serves the immediate purpose but it does not do anything to encourage better spelling—or even retention of the word that you just spelled out.

A much better alternative is for you to write the word down on a sheet of paper and show it to your child without labeling any of the letters. Then turn the word over and have your child write it from memory. This technique is even more effective if you place the word in a short sentence (of four to five words) and have your child write the entire sentence from memory.  For example, if the word in question was “pretty,” the sentence you create might be “the girl was pretty.”

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Marion Blank

Marion Blank

Dr. Marion Blank is a world-renowned psychologist and expert on the development of literacy and language in children as well as the creator of the “Six Skill Integrated Method” for teaching children to read. Prior to creating the Reading Kingdom online literacy program, she created and directed the Light on Literacy Program at Columbia University. She has authored dozens of peer-reviewed articles and books and developed numerous award winning teaching and assessment programs. Dr. Blank is also a recipient of the Upton Sinclair Award which honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to education.
Marion Blank