Mnemonics and you: memorising simple lists

'Richard of York gave battle in vain' -- a totally random sentence that has helped me remember the colours of the rainbow since childhood. Read on to find out more interesting memory techniques for your child!

mnemonics

Read how mnemonics can be fun and beneficial!

At a young age, kids might not be able to remember many things at once, especially with their short attention span. That’s why mnemonics is a great learning tool, which makes memorisation fun and effective.

What are mnemonics?
Mnemonics is a memory device that helps learners to remember long pieces of information, especially in the form of lists like characteristics, steps, stages, parts, and phases. This is a great studying tool as students encounter pockets of information in their daily life that they have to memorise. Mnemonics comes handy when dealing with things, such as the names of the planets or even the colours of the rainbow. Besides using it in the classroom, this technique can also help your child to remember shopping lists when you go to the super market! We share some effective mnemonic techniques that you can try out with your child today.

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The expression or word mnemonic
Arguably the most common and popular form of mnemonic is when the word technique uses the first letter of each item on your list to form a word or a phrase. For example, to remember the colours of the rainbow like red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, one can memorize the corky phrase: ‘Richard Ong’s Yellow Geese Bathed IVelvet’. The funnier it is, the more it will help you remember it effectively.

The story method
This method requires you to create a story that utilises all the items on the list. For example, if you were dealing with an ordered list that looks like this:

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Umbrella
  • Boots
  • Lion
  • Box
  • Pencils

You can create a story about the ‘flour that went out with the sugar and bought an umbrella that wore boots to meet a lion, which lived in a box and ate pencils.’ The creative story will trigger your memory to recall the order and the things on the list, especially if the story is made memorable by the funny and absurd details.

The number and rhyme technique
This technique uses what is known as the ‘peg’ method, where the items on the list are pegged to the numbers (0-9) that are phonetically similar to the item. For example, bun is 1, crate is 8, igloo is 2 and etc.

The best part of these techniques is that they can be customised to your child’s interests and the local context. This makes it both interesting, as well as relevant to your child’s own situation, which will help them to memorise the lists even quicker.

Tell us if you have any mnemonics techniques of your own to share with us!

Watch this to find out more about mnemonics: