Quick, efficient memorizing

Many parents and students are frustrated with study skills workshops.  They tend not to work because children need to learn memorization techniques in the context of information that they are learning.  Rather than taking the student out of the classroom and teaching them study techniques in the abstract, the better approach is to introduce a new memorization technique with each set of new information learned in the classroom.  Are the students learning the state capitals?  Introduce a memorization technique at the same time.  Teachers can do this in the classroom.  Parents can also do this at home, as soon as they know there is a new unit to be learned.

Keep track of which memory strategies work

Keep a study skills notebook.  When you find a technique that works well and fits with your child's personality, write it down in the notebook.  Some kids feel silly turning the state capitals into a song.  Others really love to draw pictures for visual flashcards.  You will find that some techniques are real home runs.  Others are just so-so.  Keep track of what type of information was memorized (e.g. was it formulas for a math test? History facts?)  By the end of the year, your child will have a set of 4 or 5 memory techniques that work well.

Memory strategies:

Most students use rehearsal techniques, reading or writing information over and over.  These are the least effective techniques, because it is so easy to "space out" while using them and not capture information. A much better approach is to "work with" the information to be learned- organizing it, or connecting it with information that one already knows (elaboration).  Introduce your child, your classroom students, or yourself to one of these techniques with each upcoming test. 

1. Study technique: Elaborate

2. Study technique:  Organize