Memorizing – Trains the Brain to Retain
This title reminds me of a line from a song in My Fair Lady, “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.” We may not know any other lines in the song, but we remember that one because it’s a type of mnemonic – a rhyme.
Something is happening in our educational system and our language. Children are no longer required to memorize poetry or the Gettysburg Address or lines from Shakespeare. The beauty of our language is quickly being replaced with cryptic text messages like, GGOH Gotta Get Outa Here or LOL Laughing out Loud. Writing is becoming a lost art, along with the beauty of recitation. Maybe you are saying, “Who cares if someone can recite Longfellow’s poem, Paul Revere’s Ride.” You should care because your children are losing the ability to retain information. Use it or lose it!
Children who are able to memorize, become successful students.
* Begin young. Read aloud to infants and continue reading to them, even when they are 10.
* Encourage your kids to memorize short little nursery rhymes like Jack & Jill or Humpty Dumpty or those happy funny rhymes from Dr. Seuss.
* Read with enthusiasm and expression! Make it fun!
* Help your kids memorize history facts by making it into a rhyme. Remember, “In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
* Memorize quotations or sayings to develop good character traits, “You can’t win unless you know how to lose.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Or, Ben Franklin’s, “The person who is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else.”
* Memorize fun poems like “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat” or Shel Silverstein’s “A Giraffe and a Half.” Reciting poetry develops an appreciation for the cadence and rhythm of verse. Children become excellent readers and proficient writers.
Young children are amazingly good at memorizing. Recently, my 3 year old grand-daughter was begging her dad to read her favorite book to her. He told her he was too tired that night. Jade looked up with empathy and said, “Daddy, do you want me to read it to you?” Surprised and curious to see what she’d say, he said “Yes, that would be great.” Jade opened her book and quoted the entire text from memory, not missing one word. He was astounded. He had no idea she had been internalizing the story every time he read it. We need to remember to encourage children to memorize. Their little brains are hungry and open to information. Just make sure it’s the right information that’s being stored!