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When you see your kindergartener work so hard on his ABC's, but can't retain anything, what would you do? Here you'll find some strategies to help improve your child's memory.

Auditory memory is an important part of auditory comprehension and listening comprehension. 80% of information that children receive in the classroom is auditory. That means that if your child is struggling to process and retain information verbally, will have difficulties remembering the information that is being presented AND in conversations. 

In addition, children who have deficits in auditory memory may also exhibit difficulties in the  areas:

  • Decreased concentration or attention
  • Following auditory directions
  • Learning new knowledge
  • Following instructions such as test instructions
  • Be unresponsive to verbal instructions
  • Remembering rote information – math facts
  • Recalling details in conversation
  • Telling a story in logical order
  • Social function/interactions
  • Remembering the information taught in the classroom
  • Say “what” often
  • Remembering phone numbers

Typically, auditory memory problems are lifelong, so it’s important to receive intervention early in order to help the child learn what their deficits are and how to compensate for the memory problems by teaching them strategies. 

Watch this video on “How to Improve Auditory Memory”

Factors Affecting Memory and Expectations

There are other factors that can affect memory and should be monitored as well:

  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Knowledge of the topic
  • Interest
  • Emotional status
  • Language skills
  • Complexity of language in message
  • Length of the information
  • Speed of speech
  • Physical health

There are appropriate developmental skills for auditory memory based on the child’s chronological age. The following table will show what a student of a certain age should be able to remember in terms of numbers and sequences. Please make sure that the task for the student is developmentally appropriate for memory skills. 

AgeNumbersSentence Length (words)
4-54 digits7-8 words
5-64 digits9 words
6-74 digits10 words
7-84 digits11 words
8-94 digits13 words
9-104 digits13 words
10-115 digits14 words
11-125 digits14 words

Strategies to Improve Auditory Memory

1. The chunking method

If the student is given different units of information, they should learn to use strategies to organize the information into meaningful chunks for easier recall. For example, memorizing a phone number by dividing it into two “chunks” (i.e. 555-7777 become “555” and “7777”) makes it easier to recall. 

2. Mnemonic Devices

These can enhance memory of similar units of information. For example, HOMES is used to remember the names of the great lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. 

3. Repetition

It may also be helpful to repeat a message or key word over and over, first out loud and then silently, to provide extra cues for memory. 

4. Music

The student can use songs or music to sing the information. It is well known that music improves memory. You can use ABC songs, number’s songs or make up your own.

5. Categorize

Divide information into smaller categories. For example: Divide vocabulary words into groups of people/places/things or words with the same beginning letter or words with the same number of letters. 

6. Use concept imagery

Create a mental picture or draw a physical picture of what is to be remembered. For example, Dr. Claire Jones, a learning disabilities consultant, suggested picturing a bay with pigs wearing a T-shirt with 1961 on it to remember details about the Bay of Pigs. 

7. Games and Other activities

Here are some games you can try: Simon Says, Simon (have the students say the color that lights up before pushing the panel), Telephone Game, Memory, or Concentration (have the child repeat the words as they turn it over). 

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