A mnemonic, (pronounced ni-mon’-ik) is a device used as a memory aid.
The F.A.C.T. mnemonic helps students organize and remember important comprehension strategies. The letters inF.A.C.T. stand for effective, research supported strategies that support comprehension: Focus, Ask questions, Connect, and Turn on the visuals.
Comprehension is only as strong as the student’s focus while reading. Encourage focus by using your child’s imagination and interests. Here’s some suggestions:
• Your child can read aloud to himself with a “cool” accent.
• Students who like to dance can think about how to choreograph the action.
• Students can summarize the material to a friend, a pet or a toy!
• Draw a picture, take notes, develop an outline or draw a concept map.
Teach your child to ask herself questions as she reads. This builds attention, focus, commitment and memory for details.
Here are examples of general questions:
• Who or what is this about?
• What is the most important thing about this who or what?
• Do I know anything about this?
• What does this remind me of?
• What will the teacher ask us on the test?
Students can also be taught to turn section headings into questions. For example, if the title of the section in the science book is “Cellular Respiration,” teach your child to turn this into a question such as, “What is cellular respiration?” or “What are the important facts about cellular respiration?”
Show your child how to connect parts of the reading together for greater understanding of cause and effect, motivation and sequence. Encourage him to notice patterns and to talk about what he finds.
For example, when reading a story about a child who has just moved to a new city, have your child talk about what it would feel like to be the new kid in school. Ask her to remember a time when she was “the new kid” and to talk about how other people reacted to her. Have her find examples in the story about strategies “the new kid” used to make friends with other people and how she felt.
Turn on the visuals:
Encourage your child to actively visualize while reading. Show him how to create effective images that are full of color, movement and surprise. Encourage your child to draw, graph or act out the reading so he better understands and remembers.
Dr. Kari Miller is the Director of Miller Educational Excellence, an educational therapy center in Los Angeles. Her FREE informative and inspiring collection of articles, “Success Strategies for Students with Special Needs Such as ADD, ADHD, Autism, and Learning Disabilities” can be downloaded from her website. She is the host of two stimulating educational blogtalk radio shows: Special Kid School Talk and Education Revolution.