Skip to main content

Dyslexia Strategies: Improving Your Memory for Names

A common difficulty for individuals with dyslexia is word finding problems. They may know someone's or something's name one day, but are unable to access the same information the next. In fact, in those moments when they can not recall the needed name, they may be able to tell you how many syllables are in the name or even the beginning letter.  This can be a frustrating and embarrassing problem, and learning memory strategies can help.

Managing Word Finding Difficulties:
The key to improving memory is to be mindful and employ memory strategies that are in line with strengths. By playing an active role, individuals with dyslexia can learn to organize material, employ methods and make connections to prior knowledge so new information can be encoded and then easily retrieved. 

How Can One Determine Strengths that Can Be Utilized?
The answers to the following questions, can help tailor an approach!

Do you remember what you:
  • see?  - use visual strategies
  • hear?  - use auditory strategies
  • touch? - use tactile strategies
  • say or discuss? - use verbal strategies
  • think about? - use reflective strategies
  • sequence? - use sequential strategies
  • categorize? - use simultaneous strategies
Visual Strategies:
Generate visual associations. A visual association allows you to connect a mental image with the information memorized.  
  • Say you are introduced to a woman named Mary.  You could visualize her on her wedding day getting married. 
  • Say you met a little girl named Patricia.  You could visualize giving Patricia a pat on her back.
  • There is a local garden where I love to take walks.  The woman that runs the facility always remembers my name and greets me with a smile.  After forgetting her name twice, I decided to come up with a strategy.  When she reminded me that her name was Barb, I said, “Ah, there is barbed wire around the gardens to keep the deer out."
  • I remember the first time I met a co-worker named Vera.  She was wearing a V-necked shirt, so I made the conscious effort to visualize Vera in her V-necked shirt.
Auditory Strategies:
Create rhyming word associations.  
  • Say you met a guy named Paul.  Perhaps Paul is small.  If not, perhaps you could find some part of his body that is small – such as his nose or ears.
Create auditory associations.  A word may sound like something that reminds you of the person.  
  • For example, Rich may be a wealthy or a "rich" man.
Use the alphabet.  Search through the alphabet to see if that jogs your memory.  
  • “Does his name begin with A?  With B?..."
Tactile Strategies:
Use a pen and paper.  The physical act of writing down the names that you have to remember, can be very helpful for some individuals.  
  • When you meet someone new, you can place their name and any notes in a little notebook on your smartphone.
Verbal Strategies:
Utilize verbal rehearsal.  Some individuals are assisted when they are able to verbalize new information.  
  • After you are introduced to someone, say their name aloud and then try to use it as much as possible.
Reflective Strategies:
Make personal connections. 
  • When meeting new people, associate their name with another person you already know that has the same name.  
  • I remember the flower impatiens, because I used to get impatient trying to remember the name. 
Sequential Strategies:
Organize information in a sequence or series.
  • If you have to learn a group of names, organize them in alphabetical order.
Simultaneous Strategies:
Organize the information into categories.  Arrange the material you have to learn by placing the names into groups.
  • I have trouble recalling the names of flowers.  One day, I noticed that four of the flowers that bloom in my garden each year all start with the letter, H.   This is often enough for me to recall: hosta, hydrangea, hibiscus, and hyacinth.  What's more, three begin with the sound "hi!" 
Combining Strategies:
Unite two or more strategies for better results!  It will be even easier to recall names when using more than one strategy!  
  • Geranium rhymes with the word cranium (auditory) and my red geraniums in my garden are shaped similar to a brain (visual).
  • When I'm networking and meet new people online, I utilize both a visual and tactile approach. All new people are placed into a document within a table.  In the first column, I copy a picture of that person.  In the second column, I record their name and contact information.  In the third column, I record some notes about them and our correspondences.
Publications that Strengthen Memory
If you are looking for remedial products that can help students improve their memory, consider my game Memory Master, my Visualization Bundle, and my Working Memory Bundle.

So, if you want to improve your memory or help others to do so, be sure to try some of these mindful and multisensory approaches.  I hope you found this helpful!  If you have other ideas, please share them below this blogpost. 
 
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

Follow on Bloglovin

Popular Posts

Back to School: Planning, Time Management and Organization Instruction

Many teachers can not fathom how apparently simple tasks such as using an agenda or turning in an assignment can be very difficult for some of their students.In fact, many students need comprehensive instruction and scaffolding to learn to plan, manage time, and organize.Executive functioning, which encompasses these skills is the last part of the brain to fully develop, and in actuality, does not reach maturation until students reach their early 20's.
How Hard Can it Really Be to Plan, Manage Time and Organize? I have to admit, when I first started working with students that struggled with executive functioning, I was surprised how challenging planning, time management and organization could be for some of my young, bright learners.What seemed to be clear and obvious was obscure, taxing and problematic for them.
These Students are Often Misunderstood: Instead of compassion and strategies, students that have difficulties with executive functioning are often intimidated, harassed and m…

Help for Struggling Readers: Creating Your Own Color Overlays

You can create your own overlays by using whole sheets or cutting strips of transparent, colored report covers, dividers or overhead projector film. 

Step one: Buy a variety of colorful transparent sheets.  You can use - color, transparency filmcolor, transparent report covers (plastic)color, transparent dividers (plastic)

All of these options can be found at office supply stores.
Step two:  Everyone is different.  Let your students try out the different colors and see which one they like the best. Step three:  For some students, keep whole sheets so that students have the option of changing the background color of the entire page of text.  Other students might like a thin strip of color, as it can help with tracking from one line to the next.  I make them a variety of lengths and widths, and often let students decide for themselves.  Note: The strips also make wonderful book marks. 
Step four (optional):  Place a plain sticker on the end of the overlay strip or the bottom of a whole sheet…

Multisensory Teaching Accommodates the 12 Ways of Learning

Teachers are always trying to reach more learners and improve retention.  One of the best ways to do this is to employ a variety teaching methods.  This involves integrating the 12 ways of learning into instruction.  Here is an infographic that reviews the 12 ways of learning and provides some statistics on how learning improves when teachers implement multisensory instruction.

Here is an image of the same infographic that can be shared on Pinterest.

Here are direct links to:
A free Prezi on multisensory teachingA free video on the 12 Ways of LearningThe Eclectic Teaching Approach
I hope you found this to be informative and inspiring.  If you have any thoughts you would like to share, please leave a comment below this blog post. Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products an…

10 Free Ways to Improving Visual Tracking for Weak Readers

While reading, tracking across the page from one line to the next can be tricky when the text is small, but for students with dyslexia or weak reading skills, it can be a problem regardless of the font size. 
What Exactly is Tracking? Tracking is the ability for one's eyes to move smoothly across the page from one line of text to another. Tracking difficulties happen when eyes jump backward and forward and struggle to stay on a single line of text.  This results in problems such as word omissions, reversals, eye fatigue, losing your place while reading and most importantly it can impact normal reading development.  
Can Tracking be Improved? Tracking can be improved by strengthening eye muscles as well as getting your eyes and brain to work cooperatively.  There are three eye movements that need to be developed:   Fixations: The ability to hold one's eyes steady without moving off a target.Saccades: The ability to jump to new targets that randomly disappear and reappear in a dif…

Following Directions: How Do I Teach this Skill?

Learning to follow directions is a crucial milestone in any student’s learning program.  It is the foundation of learning and difficulties in this area can impact a student’s ability to take notes, follow a sequence of steps, as well as show their knowledge on written assignments and even multiple-choice tests.

Even if a student is listening carefully or reading and rereading text, it doesn’t mean that they will succeed at following directions.  Weaknesses in attention, executive functioning, and language processing (both auditory and visual) can present as great obstacles for these students.  So what can be done about this?

We need to teach students how to follow directions.  They need to learn the subtleties of linguistic cues.  They need to learn to carefully analyze each word and then know how to decipher what it all means.

Whether it involves listening comprehension (auditory, receptive language) or understanding written directions (reading comprehension), there are a number of…

Remediating Dyslexia with Orton Gillingham Based Reading Games

Students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities often learn differently and require an alternative approach to learning basic reading.  What's more, these young learners are working full tilt while sitting in the classroom and by the time they get home and have to complete their homework, they are mentally spent.  As a result, tagging on remedial reading lessons to a cup that is already overflowing can be enough to turn these kids off to learning altogether.

How Do We Help These Students Learn the Core Skills Needed to be Successful Readers?
First, use a remedial program that is backed by time, testimonials and research.  The Orton-Gillingham approach to reading is a well-established and researched approach that offers a multisensory, sequential, incremental, cumulative, individualized, and explicit approach.  There are many programs that are available.  Click here to learn about a selection of these programs. Second, employ an individualized approach as each …

15 Ways to Nurture a Growth Mindset in the Classroom

How can we nurture resilient, active learners that embrace challenging academic material and become successful lifelong learners? Carol Dweck suggests that what we need to do is help students shed a fixed mindset and adopt a growth mindset. What's more, Dweck contends that developing a growth mindset will also result in less stress and a more productive and fulfilling life. 

What is a Fixed and Growth Mindset?
In a fixed mindset, students believe that their abilities are dependent on fixed traits that can not be changed such as intellect or talent. Individuals that think this way, often cultivate a self-defeating identity, feel powerless, and many struggle with a sense of learned helplessness. In contrast, students with a growth mindset accept that abilities and aptitude can be developed with persistence and effort. As a result, these individuals are not intimidate by failure, because they realize that mistakes are a part of the learning process. They continue working hard despite a…

Improving Spelling for Students with Dyslexia

Not all students require the same remedial process even though they struggle with the same academic difficulties.  Diverse combinations of cognitive processing weaknesses and deficits can unite to create the "perfect storm" that can cause challenges with reading, math, writing, spelling and more.  In fact, no two students have the same cognitive profile, so to provide the optimal solution, one needs to consider both a student's strengths and weaknesses when designing a remedial approach.  

Occasionally, I like to present the questions emailed to me from parents and teachers.  This week, I will share an email that I received from a parent in England as well as my response.

Email received: 

Hi there:
Love the website!
Our son (age 8) is dyslexic and we have been told that he has a good visual memory (so he can easily spot a correctly spelt word and can even easily distinguish the correct meanings of similar sounding words e.g. sea and see). However, he has poor memory retrieval…

Show Don’t Tell: A Descriptive Writing Game

Descriptive writing enables the author to paint scenes and characters in the mind’s eye of the reader. Like an artist, carefully selected, colorful words can convey vivid imagery, but only if the author learns to "show" and not "tell" the audience. Learning how to use illustrative adjectives, action verbs, graphic adverbs, expressive metaphors, vivid similes and showy personification is the key to writing engaging stories. What's more is it makes the process of writing a lot more fun!
Concrete learners or students that struggle with visualization or language processing can find descriptive writing difficult to learn. They can also find the learning process boring and tedious. As a result, I created a game to help make descriptive writing both enjoyable and memorable.
Show Don’t Tell & Show Don't Tell 2 Fabulously Fun Descriptive Writing Game, by Dr. Erica Warren at Good Sensory Learning, will walk you through the process. You will be amazed at the…