Try Games That Use Visual Memory
There are lots of matching games that can help kids work on visual memory, like the classic game Concentration . You can also do things like give kids a magazine page and ask them to circle all instances of the word the or the letter a. License plates can also be a lot of fun. Take turns reciting the letters and numbers on a license plate and then saying them backwards, too.
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Tania’s note: You may remember Alison’s first post on dyslexia here. We’re very pleased she’s agreed to write more for us.
Have you ever climbed a mountain with a group of hikers who are fitter than you? While they are talking, joking and walking at pace, you only have the lung capacity to breathlessly propel your legs forward. By the time you reach the summit, they have taken in the view, swigged their drinks and are ready to move on.
This is how it feels for learners with a poor working memory capacity. They need more time to learn new concepts, it takes more brainpower to do so and they often struggle academically to keep pace with their peers .
Many of these learners were already behind before the pandemic and, at a time where talk of catching up dominates the media, it is important that the needs of these students are not forgotten. These learners will not be able to cram six months of missed learning, so schools will need to review and prioritise the curriculum objectives to make sure they are achievable.
As a teacher, who also has a son with poor working memory, I am passionate that these childrens learning needs are met.
Working Memory In Childhood
Working memory plays an important role in childrens development in general and in school achievement in particular. Children with high working memory capacities have better school achievement than children with low capacities . Working memory capacity increases throughout childhood,,, and such an increase is considered as a major source of cognitive development . Different factors have been mentioned as potential sources of working memory development during childhood. Changes in the speed of forgetting and in the processing speed, global increase of cognitive resources and of the size of the focus of attention, acquisition of maintenance strategies and long-term knowledge have been evoked and could jointly underpin working memory development .
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Need Some Time Out Give Kids Opportunities To Recharge Their Batteries Through Play Exercise And Time Spent In Nature
There are limits to how much information a child can process without taking a break. So its important to allow kids downtime.
Indeed, research suggests that we learn more efficiently when we take frequent breaks. Moreover, studies show that kids show improved attention skills and more academic achievement when they engage in regular aerobic exercise. And green time? Experiences with the natural world? They appear to be especially restorative.
To read more about it, see my articles
What Kind Of Games Can Kids Play To Build Working Memory
When I first came across these studies, I immediately did a Google search to find working memory games for children. I was shocked to find that very few such resources exist. A few online cognitive enhancement programs existed but none specifically for working memoryand nothing designed specifically for classroom use. Many resources recommended playing recall games, but there was no ready-to-use system available.
I decided to do the research myself and create games that could be played in 5-10 minutes per day in PreK-6 classrooms. Using what I learned from articles and books on working memory, and paying special attention to the types of games children played in the research studies, I designed games that covered visual-spatial memory, auditory skills, letters and words, and also numbers.
The that I created include:
- a teachers guide with a through, research-based explanation of how the games work
- 15 specially-designed games on printable cards
- 6 pages of fun, colorful, print-and-cut game materials
- 2 optional work mats
If you dont want to make your own working memory games, you can purchase mine for just $5. You can also
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Improving Memory And Avoiding Cognitive Overload
Because your childs working memory capacity can be relatively fixed, the key to them understanding and retaining information is to improve their long-term memory through lots of reviewing and retrieval of previously learned material to strengthen their recall.
The following strategies, drawn from Steves book, can be used at home and at school to help your child use their working memory more effectively, commit information to long-term memory, and avoid cognitive overload so that their working memory bucket doesnt overflow.
Have Your Child Teach You
Being able to explain how to do something involves making sense of information and mentally filing it. Maybe your child is learning a skill, like how to dribble a basketball. Ask your child to teach you this skill. Teachers do something similar by pairing up students in class. This lets them start working with the information right away rather than waiting to be called on.
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How To Help Children Develop Working Memory Skills
Whats inside this article: An explanation of what working memory is and what we use it for. Signs of poor working memory skills, helpful student accommodations to help children with poor working memory skills, and games & activities that help improve this important skill.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
Working memory is one of our many executive functions. Its defined as a thinking skill that enables you to remember and use relevant information while in the middle of an activity.
Working memory is required for performing everyday tasks and for learning new information.
Research shows that kids with ADHD have poor working memory, especially when theyre required to remember visual information like graphs and images. Kids with autism often struggle in this area, too.
However, you can train your brain to improve this important skill. Research shows that practicing working memory skills, even for short times, such as 10 minutes per day improves IQ scores.
MRI scans show that memory training increases the density of the cerebral cortex the part of the brain responsible for executive functioning.
The Development Of Goal Maintenance
Another line of evidence for kindergarteners and preschoolers difficulties at maintaining tasks goals is to be found in studies testing the benefit of goal-cueing in the resolution of control tasks. Chevalier and Blaye have shown that 5- and 6-year-olds sorted cards more quickly and more accurately in a DCCS task when the goal cue displayed at the onset of each post-switch trial was transparent was than arbitrary . The effect of the transparency of the goal cue was replicated in other studies with flexibility tasks, and was also observed in inhibitory tasks . Task-switch studies in adults and children suggest that participants maintain the current goal in a verbal format. Accordingly, Chevalier and Blaye revealed that auditory transparent goal cues, suppressing the need for a verbal translation, were even more efficient at supporting goal maintenance than visual ones.
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Morning Routines To Improve Working Memory
Have your child tape-record the steps of his morning routine. Listening to his own voice on playback creates less tension than your nagging him about what to do. If he forgets a step, he can just rewind the tape to figure out what he missed.
Rehearse with your child what you expect him to remember right before the situation. For example, if he needs to ask the teacher for a study guide or one-on-one help, prep him by asking, So, what do you need to say to your teacher when you go up to her desk?
Use digital reminders. With children in middle school, use cell phones, text messages, or instant messages to remind them of things they have to do.
Keep external distractions to a minimum turn off the TV or turn down the volume if you want your childs full attention when youre saying something important.
Follow through. Children with weak working memory will indicate that they did something put their homework in their backpack, say when you ask, but will proceed to forget. Until the child gets used to taking action when prompted, check on him to make sure he did what he told you.
What Does Poor Working Memory Mean
Children with weak working memory skills are unable to grab and hold on to incoming information. Therefore, they have less material to work with when they are performing a task at hand. It is possible for them to do different kinds of calculations in math class. They run into trouble with word problems, however.
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What If Working Memory Difficulties Are Left Untreated
If poor working memory in a child is left untreated it could lead to difficulties with other areas such as:
- Developing verbal and literacy skills such as reading and writing.
- Poor performance in mathematics and basic calculations in real life.
- Completing higher grades in school or attending college.
- Keeping up with their peers in school. They lose confidence and become isolated when they are unable to progress at the same rate.
- Ability to reach full academic potential in school or college.
Working memory develops steadily in all children as they get older. Children who show less working memory at a young age doesnt necessarily have a problem. However, when you begin to notice many, if not all the signs of a working memory problem, you will have to consult a speech therapist or a psychologist.
Improving Working Memory For Students
An effective memory breaks down into two parts:
Short-term memory helps students process and recall new information so they can tackle the task at hand.
This information is transferred to a students long-term memory, where it helps him or her develop a deeper understanding of a topic.
Students who struggle with memory usually have trouble organizing information and developing a meaningful understanding of a topic. This can cause children to fall behind in class, leading to ongoing struggles in the classroom.
The good news is that there are a number of memory strategies for children that you can use to help improve your childs short-term and long-term memory.
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Practice Everyday Tasks So They Need Less Working Memory
Building successful routines and practicing everyday tasks to fluency is another strategy that can help learners with working memory difficulties. While we dont often think about wanting our teens to be on auto-pilot, sometimes that can play to our favor, especially when practice can help reduce the amount of decision-making and working memory capacity some tasks require.
Consistently practice routines and common tasks until they become habits for diverse learners. Habits require limited or no decision-making . Practice and rehearsal save decision-making and working memory functions for more complex tasks.
How To Improve Working Memory In Children At School
Put homework assignments in writing. Write each assignment on the blackboard in the same place every day, so that students know where to find it. Kids with ADHD may not be listening or paying attention when you give them oral instructions and you cant rely on them to always remember instructions.
Make checklists. One way to reduce memory demands is to provide your class with a list of the steps required to complete an assignment. The instructions should be brief.
Find out what they heard. Have students with weak working memory repeat assignment instructions and clarify any parts that they may have forgotten.
Make time at the end of class for students to write down homework in their assignment books. Make sure the kids with ADHD are doing what youve asked. Fun, visual reminders can also help. For an essay assignment, for instance, have each student trace her hand on a piece of paper and then write the name of one part of the essay in each finger: thesis statement, topic sentences for the first, second, and third paragraph, and conclusion.
Make eye contact with a child before giving him a classroom assignment.
Keep homework assignments on the school website up-to-date. Parents of kids with ADHD depend on this information to make sure their kids know what to do.
Use wild and wacky strategies. Presenting information in a typical fashion may not grab a students attention, but a curve ball can help grasp it for better recall later.
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Why Working Memory Matters For Learning
Working memory is important at every stage of education. In a nutshell, all current learning tasks operate in working memory, says Steve.
For instance, when your child is learning to spell a new word, such as ambitious, the letters and their order are held in their working memory.
If theyre to remember how to spell that word in the future, it has to pass from their working memory to their long-term memory. And if, in 12 months time, someone asks them how to spell ambitious, the brain needs to move that information back into their working memory.
Repeating instructions and asking children if they can remember them all will improve their working memory capacity for example, Hang up your bag, take out your reading book, put it on your table then line up for assembly.
This process of regular review would also work if, say, trying to recall a new concept such as a cube has 6 faces, 12 edges and 8 vertices.
What Is Working Memory And Why Is It Important
Working memory, also known as WM, is a bundle of mechanisms that allows us to maintain a train of thought.
Its what we use to plan and carry out an action the mental workspace where we manipulate information, crunch numbers, and see with our minds eye .
- Can you add together 23 and 69 in your head?
- Remember a list of grocery store items without writing them down?
- Recall the seating arrangements of a dinner party after a brief glimpse at the table?
These tasks tap working memory, and whether or not you succeed depends on your working memorycapacity, or WMC.
People with larger capacities can juggle more information at once. This helps them process information more quickly, and the benefits are well-documented. People with higher-than-average working memory capacity are more likely to excel in the classroom.
For example, when researchers have tracked the development of primary school children, theyve found that early gains in working memory predict later achievement in mathematics .
Working memory is also predictive of language skills, like the ability to keep track of the ideas presented in a long or complex sentence .
On the flip side, individuals with poor working memory skills at a disadvantage. They are more likely to struggle with mathematics and reading. They may also struggle with following spoken directions. There is too much to juggle, and they lose track of what they are supposed to do.
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Break Information Up Into Smaller Blocks
It is a known fact that information is easily remembered when it is broken up into parts, like phone numbers and social security numbers. When a child needs to be given directions, either write them out or give them one at a time. Writing assignments can be given using a graphic organizer so that the child will be able to remember what is going to be asked of them.
What Is The Basic Limitation Of Working Memory
The studies show that working memory retains information for a short time, around 10-15 seconds, unless that information is encoded into long-term memory.
It is possible to use information in working memory more effectively because there is a two-sided transfer between working memory and long-term memory.
Therefore, children can transfer the information to long-term memory and retrieve it when they need it with the help of beneficial working memory exercises.
Studies show that poor provisional memory skills affect 15% of children. However, it is easy to improve working memory 3-4 times more with the right strategies!
MentalUP offers the best working memory exercises to advance your children’s memory skills. Only 15 minutes of MentalUP exercises daily can create a huge difference!
Boost your kids’ mental skills with MentalUP, and experience the progress in both their memory abilities and academic success!
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Chunk Information Into Smaller Bits
Give multi-step directions one at a time. Running through the 5 activities your child needs to get done will simply overload their brain and mental capacity. Keep this in mind when you need to give your child multi-step directions. Write down the things you would like them to do or give them instructions one at a time. Your can also use organisers and mind maps to help your child break larger projects and assignments into more manageable pieces.
Try These Working Memory Strategies To Help Improve This Skill:
- Take notes
- Daily Journal- The Impulse Control Journal is a great tool for keeping track of day to day events
- Notebook with times for daily tasks
- Second set of school books for home
- White board notes to be used in tasks like cleaning a room
- Imagine a task in pictures
- Analyzing problem areas
- Reminder messages including verbal, picture, or app-based
- To-do lists
- Task sequencing lists
Stay tuned, because I have more working memory strategies and activities coming to the site, soon!
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Teach Students To Be Active Readers
To enhance short-term memory registration and/or working memory when reading, students should underline, highlight, or jot key words down in the margin when reading chapters. They can then go back and read what is underlined, highlighted, or written in the margins. To consolidate this information in long-term memory, they can make outlines or use graphic organizers. Research has shown that the use of graphic organizers increases academic achievement for all students.