Auditory memory – it’s what allows us to remember what we hear. Sounds of letters. A person’s name. A phone number. What would happen if we couldn’t remember these things (besides sheepishly avoiding the person whose name we just forgot)?
In my experience, many students who struggle to read also have difficulty with any number of auditory processing skills. For example:
Auditory Discrimination – Distinguishing between the distinct and separate sounds in words.
Auditory Figure-Ground Discrimination – Identifying important sounds from a noisy background.
Auditory Memory – Remembering what is heard.
Auditory Sequencing – Understanding and recalling the order of words.
A great way to prepare young children for school or to strengthen older students’ ease of learning is to help them boost their auditory processing skills.
For our purposes today, let’s focus on auditory memory.
Yes, it’s true, plenty of educational apps strengthen memory. I, however, would like to see us give our kids a break from technology once in awhile (okay, MORE than once in awhile). Are you with me?
Roundup of Auditory Memory Activities for Kids
I’m going to play in the snow and I’m putting on my…
from Nancy of Miss Mancy’s blog
The Word List
from the Miller family of Lend An Ear
Following Multi-Step Directions
These listening-to-directions worksheets from School Sparks can become auditory memory builders. Simply read all of the directions to your child first before revealing each worksheet.
The following downloadable games aren’t free, but pretty darn close.
Auditory Memory Magic
from “Miss Speechie” of Speech Time Fun
from Jen of Speech Universe
Want more ideas to strengthen auditory memory? Read on.
Extreme Mother May I – Turn the game Mother May I into an extreme auditory memory challenge. Keep your child’s memory capacity in mind. Instructions can be as silly as you like.
Instead of “Billy, take 3 steps forward” try “Billy, touch your nose with your left pinky, then do the chicken dance, then take 3 steps forward.”
“Mother May I?”
“Yes you may.”
Scrabble Tile Memory – Gather 2-7 random scrabble tiles (or any other alphabet forms) based on your child’s skill level. Say the letters out loud. Have your child find the matching tiles, then compare for accuracy. You can also use images, colored blocks, Legos, kitchen utensils. Sky’s the limit.
The act of hearing something, then showing it involves a different process in the brain than hearing something, then saying it, so switch it up. Have your child repeat the letters back to you out loud. This version, by the way, can easily be done in the car, at the store, while waiting in line at the bank. Next try numbers, number letter combos, words, etc.
Story Time – When reading out loud to children, ask them questions about the story along the way. Books on tape work well, too.
Learn a Poem
Learn a Song
Repeat a Rhythm
Games like Simon and Bop-It
Keep in mind, most young children can retain the same number of digits as their age. For instance, expect your 4 year old to remember a sequence of 4 numbers or letters. Your 5 year old should be able to accurately repeat 5 digits, and so on until around 7. This is not a hard and fast rule so be sure to test for mastery first. If they can handle 3 digits easily, move to 4. Stay at the level where they succeed roughly 80 – 90% of the time.
Looking to strengthen visual memory, too? Visit this roundup of visual memory games for kids.