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Unlock the Secrets to Improving Your Memory

Nov 27, 2007
There are many different aids to memory. Below are two very helpful devices to give you the edge in memorizing lists and in learning the spelling of difficult words.

1. Codes and Rhymes:
We are all familiar with the rhyme "Thirty days hath September..." Many times in childhood we turned to it for the information that it contains. Some older persons still refer to it as a simple and sound method for ascertaining the number of days in a stated month.

Codes that we develop ourselves are very effective. Those that we prepare, to include certain information, can be a sure-fire way to success in memorizing. Use of initials can be helpful also.

Example: You wish to learn the capitals of the six New England states: Boston, Concord, Hartford, Augusta, Montpelier, and Providence. Think of the word B-champ. To help it make sense, say to yourself, "Boston is the largest, so B is the champ." Immediately, B for Boston, C for Concord, H for Hartford, and so forth, will come to mind.

After speaking before a convention of educators at Kingsville, Texas, in 1958, I talked with a number of the audience following the program. One very experienced lady said that she had been able to recall how to spell the word geography when she was a child by the use of a little sentence that she had prepared and it had stayed with her over the years. She had the initialing system. This sentence was, "George Edward's old grandmother rode a pig home yesterday." This certainly was a vivid description, and you can see that it had lasting value.

2. Spelling
The use of organization and retention in spelling is of the utmost value. If the speller will exaggerate the letter in the word that is normally left out, it will stay in his magic eye a great deal longer, probably on a permanent basis.

Examples: In regard to my own last name, it is often confused because the writer will leave out the letter e; therefore, I would suggest that you picture the name as follows: hayEs.

There are many other words that can be used in this same manner. The word gauge is often misspelled. In order to remember that the u belongs in the middle, you might mentally place yourself in the middle of a narrow-gauge track and see the train coming at you. You are in the middle: gaUge.

The word license is another one that can easily be misspelled. To remember to put the s in license, a person could write it out and put the dollar mark instead of the s because a license costs money: licen$e.

If you wish to omit a letter, such as in spelling the word sheriff, pretty often the speller will put two r's and two f's in it or become confused as to where the r's and f's belong. I would suggest that you amplify the large R as follows: sheRiff. Also, it can be done by misspelling the word as follows: sherriff, she riff.

Draw a slash mark or an x through the letter; then erase it, then write it again, drawing the line through it: sher/iff. You will further implant on your mind that the extra r does not belong in the word. This can be done with an innumerable list of words and will permanently remain in your mind attempting to spell it.

In spelling knowledge the letter d is often left out; therefore, write it in the following manner: knowleDge. You might even circle the capitalized letter, which would be of value in remembering the spelling. By repeating these various exercises and thinking up a few of your own, I believe your spelling difficulties will be greatly reduced.

Other methods may be used in aiding memory of course, but these two methods will set you off on the right foot.
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