Close your eyes. Now think about the soft waves of the ocean hitting the beach.

So relaxing. Did you picture a specific beach?

Maybe it was one that you have visited before. Maybe it is the image on your desktop or that inspirational poster in front of you. That, ladies and gentlemen, is using visual memory. Visual memory is the ability to recall visual images that have been viewed in the past. It’s what helps you remember where you put your car keys or remember the order of numbers on a telephone touchpad. Fun fact, I often remember exact conversations based on what people were wearing and where we were standing. “It was August 31st because we were at a meeting and you had on a white shirt and you were leaning against a chair when you said…”

But beyond some of our “quirks”, visual memory is a VERY important, and useful skill that is needed throughout the school day for our students. It helps them recognize letters and numbers, remember sight words, copy information from the overhead, recall their assigned lunch table, remember how to get from the front door of the school to their classroom, remember how to set up a graphic organizer for writing, and remember tools used to solve math problems, and how to use the layout of textbooks to their advantage for learning.
Sometimes students have difficulty with these because they aren’t paying attention. However, there are many attentive students that just don’t seem to learn, despite the use of visuals.

  • Does your child has difficulty recalling visual details, remembering sight words (the order of the letters), remembering how to setup a calculation problems, or struggles to read graphs, charts, and maps? Try some of these activities to give your child a boost:
  • Play the game Memory with your child
  • Look at pictures and ask what they see. After a few minutes, take away the picture and ask them to tell you about it.
  • Take it a step further and have a tray of items, let them look at the objects for a minute, then remove one. Ask them if they can recall which object is missing.
  • Playing video games – no lie. There are research studies out there that show playing video games may help to improve visual and working memory skills
  • Talk with your child about what they “see” in their mind when they hear a word or phrase. Even though we read words, it translates to pictures in our mind. Talking through what your child is seeing can often enhance their memory skills
  • Have your child be the navigator on a trip. Give them Google Maps and let them guide you to your next destination. This can be a place that you are familiar with going so you don’t end up stranded on the side of the road three hours away from home. LOL
  • During homework time, if it involves a textbook, talk about the setup of the pages. Show your child that the title, subtitles, graphs, images, and layout all have meaning.

Working on visual memory is lots of fun! When you work on different activities like these to engage visual memory, your child will hopefully be able to transfer the benefits to the classroom and learning process.


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