In previous articles, I explained how poor working memory can affect learning, attention and reading comprehension. Some children simply have a weak working memory because of undeveloped lower brain levels or because it is not practiced. Memorization exercises are the starting point in developing a strong working memory.
This week I will explain how you can help your child to improve their auditory working memory. The secret to this is memorization exercises that encourage your child to rely only on their auditory skills. Below is a list of ways you can help them at home:
1. Starting by having your child listen to the sounds in their backyard. Next have them focus on one particular sound, while tuning out other distractions (listening birds chirping, the hum of cars, the wind whistling).
2. Read out loud to your child and listen to books on tape. Pause and ask them after every few sentences what you just read.
3. Give your child a set of instructions and see if they can repeat it back. For example, “to make a sandwich start with two slices of bread, then add butter, mayonnaise, lunch meat and a tomato”. Other lists of instructions could be, “sit down, cross your legs and clap four times”.
4. Obstacle courses teach your child to remember a series of instructions to get a reward: “jump over the cord, creep under the table and crawl through the hallway.”
5. Scavenger Hunt – State a list of three items your child must obtain from around the house and return to you. Start with objects that are more alike and as they improve increase the number of items they must bring back.
6. State a list of items that they must repeat back. Start with three items and gradually increase to seven. Next have them repeat the list in reverse—again starting with three items. Lists could include animals, provinces, countries, food, clothing, colours, holidays etc.
Next time, I will explain how to improve a visual working memory.