“Mnemonic” is another word for memory tool. Mnemonics are techniques for remembering information that is otherwise quite difficult to recall; a very simple example is the '30 days hath September' rhyme for remembering the number of days in each calendar month.

Imagination is what you use to create and strengthen the associations needed to create effective mnemonics. Your imagination is what you use to create mnemonics that are potent for you. The more strongly you imagine and visualize a situation, the more effectively it will stick in your mind for later recall.

There are several mnemonic devices that can be used, like acronyms, rhymes, patterns, chunking or grouping, imagery, and peg-word systems.

An acronym is a word formed from the first letters or groups of letters in a name or phrase. A rhyme is a saying that has similar terminal sounds at the end of each line. Rhymes are easier to remember, because they can be stored by acoustic encoding. Grouping, chunking, and patterns are probably the most widely used and most successful approaches to help with memory. If you are able to group or chunk what you need to remember into categories, you process the information in more depth, because you are adding meaning to what you are learning. Anytime we add meaning, we are more likely to remember new information. Imagery is when you create a mental picture that you use to connect items and attach meaning--the more vivid the image, the better. The peg-word system attaches a visual with a list by connecting the word with another object.

Any material that is taught with these devices of organization will more likely be remembered and more easily stored and retrieved from short- and long-term memory. Use these devices when learning/memorizing new information. Look for programs that use these tools to aid in learning. Click here to see how Discover Intensive Phonics uses patterns, grouping, and imagery to help in learning the method.

What do you do to remember names of people or lists of things to do? Please share your comments below.