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Mnemonic Skills. Borrowed from Regina Wilson Adapted by Amanda Whitmire. When we learn, we do not just "acquire new response patterns." We think . We receive, store, integrate, retrieve, and use vast amounts of information. Memory.

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Mnemonic Skills

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mnemonic skills

Mnemonic Skills

Borrowed from Regina Wilson

Adapted by Amanda Whitmire

When we learn, we do not just "acquire new response patterns." We think. We receive, store, integrate, retrieve, and use vast amounts of information.

Memory is definitely a psychological phenomenon, but it is undoubtedly a physiological process as well. The brain is a complex part of the body with many functions. There are several brain structures that are involved in memory.

mnemonic skills are
Mnemonic Skills Are:

A method for enhancing memory. When using the term mnemonic skills, most people are referring to a trick that one uses to help memorize something.

mnemonic skills1
Mnemonic Skills

Should be employed to facilitate learning. They work by creating connections where no connection is immediately obvious to the learner.

pre comprehension strategies
Pre comprehension Strategies
  • Being able to recognize the meaning of a word
  • Use that word as concretely as possible in many contexts
  • Integrated with appropriate information and appropriately retrieved from long-term memory.
common mnemonic devices are
Common Mnemonic Devices Are:
  • Acronyms and acrostics
  • Rhymes
  • Grouping
  • Imagery
  • The method of loci
acronym and acrostic
Acronym and Acrostic
  • An acronym is a word formed from the first letters or groups of letters in a name or phrase.
  • An acrostic is a series of lines from which particular letters (such as the first letters of all lines) from a word or phrase.
These can be used as mnemonic devices by taking the first letters of words or names that need to be remembered and developing an acronym or acrostic.

To be remembered: The planets, in order of their distance from the sun: Mecurey, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, PlutoMnemonic Device: MVEMJSUNP = My Very Earnest Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles

To be remembered: The colors of the rainbow, in order: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Mnemonic Device: ROY G. BIV (A made-up name) - OR - Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain

To be remembered: The Great Lakes, from west to east: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, SuperiorMnemonic Device: Some Men Hat Each Other. - OR - (not in order) HOMES

To be remembered: The lines of the treble staff - EGBDFMnemonic Device: Every Good Boy Does Fine - OR - Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge

To be remembered: The spaces of the base staff: ACEGMnemonic Device: All Cows Eat Grass


A rhyme is a saying that has similar terminal sounds at the end of each line. Rhymes are easier to remember because they can be stored by acoustic encoding

  • 30 Days has September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31, except February.
  • In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue.
  • "i" before "e," except after "c," or in sounding like "ay" as in "neighbhor" or "weigh."
chunking and organization
Chunking and Organization

Our memory is much enhanced if we can find organization or create organization to what we have to remember.


Finding organization to what you need to memorize is often critical to understand the information. If you are able to group what you need to remember into categories, you process the information in more depth. You add meaning to what you are learning by making a judgment about the nature of the information. In some cases, you are incorporating the new knowledge with information you already know.

subjective organization
Subjective organization:

Subjective organization is categorizing seemingly unrelated items in a way that helps you recall the items later. (Benjamin, Hopkins, & Nation, 1994. p.266) This is useful because it breaks down the amount of information to learn. If you can divide a list of items into a fewer number of categories, then all you have to remember is the categories (fewer items), which will serve as memory cues so that you will also remember the items.

Reducing the amount of items to remember is valuable when trying to remember a lot of information. Once you have determined what information is necessary to memorize, you can reduce the number of items you must remember by grouping, or chunking, the information.
  • Look at the following chunks of letters:


  • At first glance, its seems like they would be difficult to memorize. However, with simple chunking, look at them now:


  • Imagery is used to memorize pairs of words very often. An image is created for each word, and then the two images are connected through mental visualization. (Benjamin, Hopkins, & Natio, 1994.p.267)
  • Imagery is a great way to improve your memory. The more vivid or startling you can create the mental picture, the more likely you are to remember whatever it is you are trying to remember.
the method of loci
The Method of Loci

In order to use the method of Loci, you must first imagine a place with which you are familiar.

You must be able to identify several locations within that one place. It is best if these locations can be given a logical order, such as clockwise, or top to bottom.

Here are some examples that would work:

Place: your houseVarious locations: rooms in the house

Place: your roomVarious locations: objects, such as your bed, your desk, the closet, etc.

Place: a baseball fieldVarious locations: players' positions

Place: Your ride/drive to work/schoolVarious locations: stores or landmarks you see along the way.

remembering names
Remembering Names

When you are trying to remember someone's name, the first step is to come up with a mental image with which you will associate person, and perhaps even facts about him or her.

Some tips:

  • Repeat the person's name aloud after it is said to you.
  • Comment on the name, or ask how (s)he got it or how to spell it (if appropriate, of course). This helps encode the information into your brain. People usually appreciate your interest.
  • As you are leaving the person, say the name aloud again, "Good-bye, Heather. It was nice meeting you."
  • Combining these tips with the visual association work very well. It's okay to look for physical features or personal characteristics while with the person, but it's best to come up with your exact visual association after you have left the person.
learning a foreign language
Learning a Foreign Language:

Learning a foreign language can be an ideal situation for using mnemonic devices.

Often, there are long lists of new vocabulary terms to memorize.

The key to memorizing the vocabulary is to associate the English meaning with an English word that sounds like the pronunciation of the foreign word.

For example, the Danish word for yellow is gul. You can think of a sea gull, which is a bird. Birds have yellow beaks.

* ASSOCIATIONS - linking two ideas; PICTURE/WORD

famous people with excellent memories
Famous people with excellent memories

There is a myth about Napoleon Bonaparte's excellent memory. Napoleon memorized the rosters of his units. Every time he was to review the troops, he would greet the soldiers by name, causing them to feel a personal connection to their French emperor. (Kurland and Lupoff, 1999, p. 3-4)

franklin roosevelt
Franklin Roosevelt

Franklin Roosevelt, is also said to have a good memory. In reception lines, Roosevelt would not only greet each person by name, he would ask a question of, or comment about, each person, showing his interest. Roosevelt used a terrific external memory device. His advisor, James Farley, kept a file of index cards on every such person Roosevelt might come across in such occasions. Before such occasions, he would brief Roosevelt beforehand, who would memorize a key question, brief story, or fact. (Kurland and Lupoff, 1999, p. 4)

arturo toscanini
Arturo Toscanini

Arturo Toscanini had poor vision, but a terrific musical memory. Instead of following along with the score as he conducted, he memorized the entire score for each concert! He knew every note played by every instrument for 250 symphonies and 100 operas! (Yount, p. 70-71)

Strategies and skills can be used for strengthening memory and the overall processing of information and for minimizing forgetting. By following these guidelines, teachers, learners, and others involved in the instructional process can help students learn and process information as effectively as possible.