Memorizing Children’s’ Stories
The ability to tell a great story, one that captivates listeners and keeps them on the edges of their seats, is a great talent.
Thankfully, memorizing stories is a talent that any parent can learn!
Memorizing children’s’ stories is much easier than you’re probably thinking.
With this second set of tips and tricks below (checkout the first ones here), you can tell your children a bedtime story…no book included…as early as next week!
In addition to giving you some great memorization tips, we’ll clue you in to some great books filled with stories sure to capture kids’ imaginations.
Getting Started…Choose the kids story Wisely
If you’ve always had trouble generally memorizing things in life, it’s best to start as small as your child’s age will allow.
The simpler the book, the easier it is to memorize the story.
Trying to cram a complicated story full of twists and turns into your head won’t just drive you crazy…it defeats the whole purpose of storytelling, which is to have fun!
Choose stories that are simple enough for you to memorize in a week at the most.
Channel Your Inner Drama Queen (or King) into the storytelling
Nothing makes a story come alive like an animated, excited storyteller who uses every tool available. In storytelling, one of your most useful tools is your voice.
Every character in a story can have a customized voice. You don’t need anything elaborate.
Something as simple as pitching your voice higher for a small, meek character and deepening it a bit for a strong or scary character is plenty.
This technique isn’t just a great way to enhance your stories, however.
It’s actually a highly effective way to memories stories in the first place!
As you read the story you’re trying to memorize, don’t read in your own voice.
In your mind, read in the voices of the characters.
Later, as you read out loud (an important step in memorization), use those voices.
This technique makes the story stand out in your mind, therefore making it much easier to remember.
Divide the story up and Conquer the telling
In fact, for people who have trouble with memorization, taking a story or book in small sections is a great way to make memorizing stories easier.
With very short children’s’ books, this usually means just a few pages at a time.
Divide the book up into equal portions, and work on one section per day.
Follow the technique of reading, reading out loud, and then trying to read out loud without looking at the pages.
Soon you’ll realize that you’ve memorized an entire section of the story.
When it comes time to put all the pieces together, simply read through the entire book one last time, front to back.
Chances are good that you’ll be able to recall everything after that last once-over.
If not, don’t be discouraged; simply practice a little more.
Make it your personal challenge.
Pretty soon, however, you’ll have no trouble at all recalling the entire story from start to finish!
This technique works so well because when our brains become over-stimulated, they can’t process or retain knowledge as well as when they are relaxed.
You’ll be able to tell when your brain is getting too “full,” your thinking will become a little fuzzy and you’ll have trouble concentrating.
If this happens, just take a break or set the book aside for the night. There’s no sense in trying to cram too much information into your head all at once…you probably won’t remember it anyway.
If your children like a spooky tale on Halloween (or at any other time of year for that matter), you may want to check out the series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (and More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark). Just as the name implies, these stories are spooky, yet tame enough for slightly older kids. Read through them to make sure they’re appropriate for your children.
A Musical Tale
Once of most effective, and most enjoyable methods for memorizing stories is to use music.
Studies have shown than when students are studying for a test, they can recall more information if they listen to music while studying, then listen to that same music while taking the test
You can use this technique to memorize children’s’ stories!
For memorization, it’s best to use music with no lyrics.
Studies have shown that classical music is best, but don’t force yourself if you don’t enjoy classical.
Any music without lyrics will work just fine. You can find instrumental versions of many popular songs online.
Surprisingly, techno and trance music, which traditionally has no words, is also a good choice.
Just be sure that whatever music you choose will be something your kids won’t object to having on in the background as you tell them stories.
Try to listen to the same few pieces of music each time you work at memorizing stories.
This connects the story to the music in your mind, and each time you listen to that particular piece, the story will be more readily accessible for your mind to recall.
A Sweet-Smelling Storytelling
Due to the location of your Olfactory bulbs (the bits of brain that sense smell), smell is the area of our brain which is most closely associated with memory.
This is why you can be transported back in time by just a whiff of a perfume you wore during high school, or your father’s favorite cologne, to name just a couple examples.
Scent has a very powerful ability to trigger memories.
Unless you already burn candles, incense or scented oils on a regular basis, there’s no need to run out and buy an armload of products. Simply use a perfume which you enjoy but don’t wear very often.
This will help to distinguish the scent in your mind; a scent you rarely wear is more identifiable than your go-to fragrance for everyday wear.
Spritz the scent on your wrists or even on the book itself each time you sit down to work on memorizing stories.
Without doing anything complicated or time-consuming, this will connect the story you’re working on with that particular scent.
When you work on recalling the story for your children, simply spritz on a bit more of the same scent.
Your mind will recall the story much more readily without any extra effort on your part!
Of course, this means you’ll need a lot of different scents for all the stories you want to remember, so why not use a bit of herbal lore and use a sprig of Rosemary.
Rosemary’s memory enhancing effects are something that I have personally used at exams and while it may not be scientifically proven (and therefore a load of superstitious rubbish), why not give it a go and see if it (or the placebo effect) can help.
Great Stories for Kids
It can be hard to choose a story to begin with, since there are so many children’s’ book available.
That’s why many parents find that time-honoured classics are great when beginning to memorize for bedtime.
These stories were probably read to you when you were a child, making memorization even easier.
Classic stories which have been translated onto the big screen are great choices, because you probably remember the brightly colored cartoons. A quick search of Amazon for Classic Children’s Stories and Books will reward you with a world of choices.