Visual memory is a key component to learning.
If you’ve ever tried to teach a child math facts only to be met with a dull stare after practicing for hours, it’s most likely a visual memory problem keeping the child from learning.
If kids are weak in visual memory, you’re wasting your time with traditional flash cards!
This important skill is crucial for reading fluency and comprehension, too. If a child is tapped out at three-digit visual memory, then a three letter word is the child’s reading comfort zone. Four letter words become too difficult and that’s when comprehension drops.
Reading and spelling become too laborious, and as a coping mechanism, these same kids with weak visual memory resort to memorizing words as a strategy.
That’s a lot of work.
There’s an easier way to help your child with these skills! Like any skill, visual memory can be strengthened. You wouldn’t send your child out to ride a bicycle without lots of practice, yet we send kids to school every day without practicing crucial micro-skills like visual memory.
If you think your child or student struggles with visual memory, don’t despair. Here are five easy ways to boost visual memory:
1. Digit span cards – you can make these easily enough on recipe cards. Write a list of random letter/number sequences starting with three digits, which is a common break-down point for most kids. From there, hold up one of the cards in front of your child for about thirty seconds. Take it away and have him/her write the sequence on a piece of paper. Gradually increase the number of digit span sequences until your child is adept at six digits.
2. Play card games such as Old Maid, Go Fish, Uno, and Crazy Eights. Kids need to memorize the information on the cards in order to play and succeed. Most board games help in this matter as well.
3. Minute Memory – for this game you’ll need to gather a group of unrelated pictures or images and put them together on a page. You can do this on your computer or cut pictures from magazines. Hold up the “collage” for one minute then take it away. Have your child or student write or draw as many of the pictures that he/she can remember. Slowly build up to more and more images.
4. Concentration – this old game of matching is tried and true. All you need is a deck of cards, and you’re on your way to helping your child master visual memory. Start slow, maybe with two cards each of one through five. Mix them up, turn them upside down, and take turns seeing who can get a match. There are ready-made games available for purchase as well.
Visual memory is one of the most important skills that directly affects learning and academic success. It’s also a skill that has taken a strong hit in recent years. With the wide array of technology we now use, visual memory skills are becoming weaker, not just with our kids, but with us!
It doesn’t take much to increase visual memory…and who knows…you might have fun along the way!