Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tips on memorization

For anyone who was in Mrs. Byrne's 5th period Honors English class sophomore year, you know I have lots of tricks on memorizing things. Hopefully some of these will come in handy for our memorization assignment this week.

1) The first trick is pretty simple: read the first line to yourself twice while looking at it, and then look away and say it to yourself again. Looking away is important, because you're recalling it without relying on a visual cue. Repeat for the second line, and then while you're still looking away, say the first and second line together. Repeat for the rest of the poem if it's short (like this one), or the rest of the stanza if it's a longer poem (like "The Raven.")
2) The nice thing about the first trick is that it's easy to do whenever, and all you need to have is the poem to look at. However, most of us are kinetic learners, and you'll memorize things much faster if you can do something with it kinetically. This second trick is my favorite: write out the poem on a piece of paper. Seriously, do it. You'll be amazed. Another alternative is typing out the poem on the computer; both work well, but in my experience the handwriting works a little better. Writing/typing the poem is a good way to start your memorization and/or to test yourself once you think you have it memorized.
3) The third trick is rather odd, but works ridiculously well: for every line of the poem, make up a gesture that goes with it. For example, "your life is your life" (point to audience twice) "don't let it be clubbed into dank submission" (hit hand with fist on word "clubbed") "be on the watch" (mime binoculars) "there are ways out" (point in the general direction of the wild blue yonder) et cetera. You think I'm dorky but it works!
4) UPDATE: here's one I just thought of. I've never tried this, but my guess is it'll work pretty well. Put the poem/speech somewhere that you'll see it repeatedly-- for example, set it as your desktop wallpaper or write it on a post-it and put it on your mirror-- and at a set time each day (for example, when you first turn your computer on or when you're brushing your teeth, respectively) read it once or twice. The key to memorization is repetition, and this seems like a painless way to achieve that. In fact, to test it, I'm going to try this method with "To Be Or Not To Be." I'll get some post-its right now :)

Good luck everyone!

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