How do we improve memory? Here is a strategy I use with students. It is fun and also serves as a great writing activity. Tell a story in which treasure items must be stored safely and secretly for the future. In order to remember the location of the treasure items, create a word out of the first letter of each hiding place. Make sure the word – called an acronym – is an important part of this excellent adventure story. For example, your acronym might be CLIFF, while the hiding places may include a cave, a lighthouse, an island, a fort and a fish – yes, a fish. Most of the hiding places can easily be grouped together as, “things you might find near a cliff on a coast”. Maintaining a consistent theme with your hiding places and logical associations with the acronym will definitely improve recall.
Now that you have modeled this strategy, ask your student to tell the story. Later, ask them to create a story of their own which uses the same memory strategy to find their hidden treasure items. Finally, have them write or type the story.
One of the nifty advantages of a favored story is that it itches to be told and retold. Kind of makes it hard to forget.
Below is a link to a chapter from a book on memory by Mel Levine. I highly recommend it as readable and thorough. Check it out and let me know if it is helpful.