Mnemonic devices are a learning technique that aid in the retention and retrieval of information from a person’s memory. It improves the memory of important information and connects new learning to prior knowledge through the use of visual and auditory cues. The following is a list of several types of mnemonic strategies.
- Name Mnemonics
- The first letter of each word in a list of terms is used to make a name of a person or thing. For example: ROY G. BIV = colors of the spectrum (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) or HOMES = 5 Great Lakes ( Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior)
- Expression or Word Mnemonics
- The first letter of each item in a list is arranged to form a phrase or word. For example: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally = order of operations in math (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract) or To Remember Good Old Hank, Remember the Bubbles In The Shaken Coke You Drank = Henry’s Law- the solubility of a gas increased with pressure.
- Music Mnemonics
- Make song or jingle using any type of music.
- Model Mneumonics
- A representation is created to help with understanding and remembering information. For example: a pie chart or pyramid model could be constructed to remember information.
- Rhyme Mneumoncis
- Put information in the form of a poem that rhymes. For example: In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Or Except February my dear son. It has 28 and that is fine, but in Leap Year it has 29.
- Image Mnemonics
- The important information is constructed in the form of a picture that promotes recall. The sillier the image, the easier it is to recall the information. The images can be in your mind only or sketched on paper.
- Connection Mnemonics
- Connect new information with something else you already are familiar with or know. For example: Remembering Longitude and Latitude lines. You already know that lines running North and South on globe are long that coincides with LONGitude or You need to remember a person’s name is Sheri and you notice Sheri is shy so you connect shy and Sheri. The next time you see her you will think Shy Sheri and remember her name.
- Method of Loci Mnemonic Strategy or Memory Palace Mnemonic Strategy
- Visualize a room or familiar path through your house or building and mentally associate facts or information with specific locations or objects along the way. For example: If you need to remember a list of information, visualize each item a specific location along your path. Say you need to remember a grocery list (apples, bread and orange juice). Imagine apples rolling down the hall as you walk into the kitchen, then in the kitchen you step on oranges making juice, then you walk into the dining room and see slices of bread hanging from the chandelier like crystals hanging from it.
Courtney Evenchik, MA, NCSP
Director of School Psychology Services