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Mnemonic Devices: Tips to Remember Anything!

Mnemonic Devices: Tips to Remember Anything!

HomexSpecial Education ToolboxMnemonic Devices: Tips to Remember Anything!

What are Mnemonic Devices?

Mnemonic devices are great tools to help students retain information. Once students realize the value of such tools, they tend to apply the strategy throughout all areas of their lives. It will be important that the student initiate such efforts and realize the benefits that can be experienced from their use.

The student rehearses information by orally repeating it or writing it several times. Rehearsal will be most beneficial if it occurs shortly after learning and occurs intermittently thereafter. This is one of the least impactful strategies for long term memory.

The student recalls a list of words or terms by forming a word using the first letters of the words to be remembered (e.g, HOMES to recall names of the Great Lakes).

The student forms a memorable (i.e., silly, outrageous, familiar) phrase or sentence using the first letters of the words or terms to be recalled (e.g., My waffle is under the new car to recall the seven mountain states of Montana, Wyoming, etc.). These work best when a learner has the opportunity to choose a phrase that is meaningful to them.

Method of Loci
This strategy involves the student imagining himself walking through a familiar location such as a bedroom or walking to school. The student imagines placing a term, word or element to be recalled in prominent locations along the route. When it is necessary to recall the information, the student mentally retraces the route. The mental image of the prominent locations along the route elicits the corresponding element to be recalled. Drawing a “map” may add an additional level of support.

Learning Something New
The student learns more information about a term or vocabulary word. The association of new information with the term strengthens memory for the term. An example would be the student reading some information about a state capital to become more familiar with the city. A variety of graphic organizers are available to support vocabulary development using this strategy.

The student forms a mental image associated with a term to be recalled. Encouraging students to draw their visualization may support some learners.