5 Everyday Activities to Boost Your Child’s Working Memory with Reading

learning memory reading

 

When you sit down to read a book, your brain is recalling and using a great deal of information to understand the text. This is because reading requires us to draw on relevant information stored in our memory in order to gain meaning.

A good working memory is important for reading and achieving success in school. Working memory refers to how we manipulate information stored in our short-term memory. Children use this all the time to learn, read, and follow everyday instructions.

Improving your child’s working memory is a powerful way to improve their reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Here are five activities you can do at home to improve your child’s working memory.

1. Play category games

When words and ideas are put into categories, they become much easier to remember. Several studies have found that when category cues are applied, children are twice as likely to remember associated words than if left to recall them on their own.

You can play category games with your child after reading a book as a helpful way to recall new words and ideas. If the book features animals, ask your child to name as many animals as they can think of, including any new ones they may have learned from the book. You can look at grouping them in different ways, such as by where they live or their number of legs. If the book is about Egyptian history, ask them to list words under categories such as diet, buildings, rituals, or fashion. This type of associative learning is a great way to improve reading comprehension and vocabulary.

2. Connect feelings to information

Children remember things most effectively by processing information in as many ways as possible, especially if they have processed it emotionally. If your child is reading a book about bird migration, ask them to imagine what it would be like to fly thousands of miles to find food and warmth. Finding ways to connect what your child is trying to remember with things they are already familiar with is a powerful way to help them learn new information.

3. Talk about what you have read

Soon after you have finished reading a book, ask your child to give you a summary of the events that took place. Encourage them to draw pictures, write their summary, or simply tell you what happened in chronological order. You can also ask your child questions to reinforce key information in the book. Encourage a post-reading discussion by asking questions like, “Where did the dog find his family?”, “Why do you think the girl felt sad about leaving school?”, or “What would have happened if the day was rainy instead of sunny?”

4. Encourage your child to take notes

To enhance working memory while reading, young children can get into the habit of becoming active readers. Encourage your child to underline, highlight or jot down key notes in the margin while reading lengthy books. They might also use sticky notes on pages to write down and group together their ideas about the text. Another great strategy to help your child understand and recall what they have read is by reading the text out loud. By reading aloud together, you can take “mental notes” by pausing and placing an emphasis on key words and ideas, or discussing the meaning of a particular word or event in the text.

5. Prepare

Before your child sits down to read a book, help them prepare by priming their memory. Give your child an idea of what they can expect and what to look out for in a book by discussing the vocabulary and overall topic beforehand. By preparing your child before reading a lengthy text, you are making it easier for them to put the information into context.

Working memory is a skill that can be strengthened over time, and activities like these can be easily built into your child’s daily life. Do you have any tips for boosting your child’s working memory with reading?

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Teaching kids to apply their mathematics knowledge to real world situations

maths-homework

How many times have you explained a mathematics concept to your child, only to have them ask, “When am I ever going to need this?” Here’s how you can help them apply their new skills to real world situations.

We all love to learn, but usually we need to understand how the knowledge we’re about to learn will be useful to us. It’s no different for young children – once they realise how the knowledge they’re learning can be applied to real situations they see in the world, they’ll become more eager to listen, ask questions, and look out for more opportunities to show you how well they’ve grasped the key concepts.

Here are a handful of ways you can do this at home:

1. Implement school lessons at home

For example, if your child is learning about different temperatures at school, ask them to help you check the temperature at home and outside. You can start off by asking them if they think it’s hot, cold or warm, and to predict the temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius. Then, you can consult the thermometer together to see how close your predictions were.

2. Create a simple budget

Sit down with your child and plan a household budget for the month. Subtract regular expenses such as rent, bills and car payments, and encourage your child to try and come up with as much money as possible to remain leftover after expenses.

3. Go shopping together

Plan a family shopping day and prepare a shopping list together. Ask your child to help you pick out items from the list and cross them off as you go. Ask them to stay within a set budget and to estimate the amount of the overall purchase while shopping. This activity helps them incorporate several mathematics skills at once, such as budgeting, subtraction, addition and estimation.

4. Cook together

Following a recipe is a great (and delicious!) way to practice fractions and measurements. Show your child different measuring tools in the kitchen and talk about the concept of fractions, such as explaining how two ½ cups make one whole cup. After all the ingredients are assembled – guess how many servings it will produce.

5. Host fun competitions

How many cookies are in the cookie jar? How many minutes will it take to wash up all the dishes? What is the average weight of this week’s shopping bags? Almost everything can be turned into a fun mathematics game – and by keeping up the fun, the learning is sure to come!

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Visit www.readingeggs.com for your free 14-day trial of Mathseeds and Reading Eggs and let your child experience the fun way of learning early mathematics.