For home practice, I have been working with Gavin on the random linking memory activity. He was starting to get a little bored with the activity so I threw in a few dinosaurs and it seems to have renewed his interest. He has been asking me daily for new “dinosaur” stories.
I have noticed a few things about his progress that I wanted to mention. If you are doing linking memory activities at home with your child, I hope you can share your own observations as well.
In an earlier post, I mentioned that Gavin appears to be developing a photographic memory. Although he can remember facts that he has read and exactly where the information can be found, I have noticed that his photographic memory is not complete. He remembers certain things with uncanny accuracy while other things pass him by seemingly unnoticed. What is central to his ability to recall what he has seen is his interest in the subject. Because he is interested in the subject of dinosaurs, he can remember the facts he reads about it. Other subjects that he doesn’t care for, he doesn’t appear to be able to remember as much, if at all.
This reinforces the importance of following your child’s interest. If you want to teach a specific subject to your child, it pays to take the time to ignite his interest so that he will take himself the rest of the way on the learning curve. Which leads me to a few other thoughts I have been pondering over. Because I have never had a photographic memory, I cannot speak of it from my own experience. I can only make suppositions based on what I have observed from Gavin.
Recently, I have been using the linking memory activity as a means of teaching him new material. However, I find that when I put in something unfamiliar, it is much harder for him to recall all the cards. For instance, in a recent linking memory deck, I included a picture of glow worms (as shown below) and he couldn’t remember the card because the picture made no sense to him. I have never taught him about glow worms before either so he said, “I don’t know what that is.”
It is possible that he could see the image in his head but was not able to describe it. Or he might have dismissed it altogether because it made no sense to him. It reminds me of a linking memory session in Heguru when he labelled a card with a different name. I forget exactly what it was but it was some landmark which he was unfamiliar with. The picture looked like a tower so he referred to it as a tower instead of its proper name. This would suggest that he can remember things that he sees, but not necessarily what he hears.
That leads me to the next take-home point – the importance of practicing different activities to develop the memory function as a whole. Linking memory helps to develop visual memory – photographic memory. You need to practice other activities that help to develop auditory memory. The ability of your child to develop one and/or the other may also be affected by whether he is a visual learner or an auditory learner. Obviously the preferred sense will be the type of memory they will develop more easily.
Thirdly, in an earlier post, I posted two linking memory decks – one with pictures and one with words. I thought that the cards with words could also be useful for further developing memory function. In retrospect, I think I should state that words cards should only be used on older subjects. Young children need linking memory cards with pictures or they may become frustrated by the activity (particularly if they have not learned to read). It is important to keep the game fun and entertaining so we should eliminate elements that may complicate it. You can still use the word cards for older children and strong readers.
Have you been practicing linking memory or other memory activities at home with your child? What have you observed about your child’s memory development? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.