Saturday, September 28, 2013

Memory & Speech/Language

I recently came across this article in the Pediastaff newsletter. It suggests that childrens' memories may still be undergoing development even after the age of 7. One of the memorable points for me was the suggestion that we have to consider this when deciding how much and what children are expected to learn. It seems that more and more educational demands are being placed on children - but the question of whether they are capable of meeting these demands remains to be answered. Many states have adopted the Common Core Standards. A 7 year old child would likely be in 2nd grade (give or take). According to the Common Core State Standards, some skills that are memory related include:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.1b Form and use frequently occurring irregular plural nouns (e.g.,feet, children, teeth, mice, fish).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.1d Form and use the past tense of frequently occurring irregular verbs (e.g., sat, hid, told).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.2d Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words (e.g.,cage → badge; boy → boil).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.4d Use knowledge of the meaning of individual words to predict the meaning of compound words (e.g., birdhouse, lighthouse, housefly; bookshelf, notebook, bookmark).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.5a Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g.,describe foods that are spicy or juicy).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.2 Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
This makes me consider the methods we use to teach our students difficult concepts. The article states that context is important to how much children can remember. There are so many rules in the English language that my students with language disorders struggle with, sometimes because they don't follow a specific "rule" - like irregular plurals and irregular past tense. 

It also reiterates that a lot of language skills require working memory skills, so it's important to focus on these skills too if we expect to see improvement in language skills. 

More research is definitely needed in this area! This article renewed my resolve to help my students make memorable connections between concepts, vocabulary, etc. as this seems to be the best way to help improve their memory skills. 

Some memory strategies that I like to use in my sessions include:
*create a sentence (for words, numbers, etc)

Some activities that might be helpful with memory skills include the following:
Auditory Farm - Speech Universe
Auditory Memory Magic - Miss Speechie
iPod Auditory Memory - The Speech Bubble
Football Pursuit - Carissa TenHoeve

What are your thoughts regarding how memory affects speech/language skills?

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