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 Memorizing: Tips, Help, and Ideas

In the Faith Value Project ideas it suggests memorizing “The Living Christ.” There are also other passages you can memorize for value projects. Use “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” ten or twenty scriptures which relate to the value (there is a list in the back of your Personal Progress Booklet, or you can find your own), hymns, primary songs, conference talks, and the list continues.

In everything there is a wrong way to complete a task and a right way to complete a task. There are also good or “ehh” ways to complete a task, and better or best ways to complete a task. The same is true when memorizing anything.

Short or long you do not want to memorize your passage all at once. Your brain needs time to process the new information you feed it. You might remember parts of it, but in takes time and baby steps to memorize something inside out and backwards.

The more memorizing strategies and methods you use, the more it reinforces your brain. Each method acts as a building block to memorizing your passage. The more blocks you have the stronger you make your memorizing wall. If you forget part of the passage, or lose one block, then you know you have more to fall on, and your wall will still stand.

I’m sure you have your own strategies for memorizing but here are a few I have and use.

Flash Cards When I took piano lessons my teacher always said “Pretend the music is a pizza. You wouldn’t eat the whole pizza in one big bite. It would never fit in your mouth. You would choke.”   Then she explained in order to learn the music I needed to learn one section at a time or “Eat the pizza bite by bite.”

You can apply this pizza metaphor in memorizing too. Divide the passage into a couple sentences, or words and write them on flashcards. Then read the flashcards and try to memorize them.

Once you are comfortable saying them aloud on your own, number each of them. Write 1 on the first part of the passage, then 2 on the second part, and so on and so on. Then find a die (or two if you need more) and roll it. Recite whichever number flashcard the dice lands on. Then roll it again and continue until you go through all the flashcards.

You can also roll the dice and use the number as a starting place. If you have 6 sections and roll a 4, recite section 4, then 5, and then 6.

Fill in the Blank

Write down the passage but leave out every fourth word. Then read through the passage and fill in the missing words. Do it again leaving out every third word. Then fill in the missing words. Do it again leaving out every second word and then every other word.

Write it Down

Writing helps enforce the words into your brain. Write the entire passage down before you recite it each day. Then as you say the words, close your eyes and image the words written on the piece of paper. Can you see them?

Say it Out Loud

Saying the words in your mind over and over again will not help you memorize them effectively. Say the words out loud slowly and clearly. If you say part of the passage incorrectly, start over and say it again. The more you say it the more your mouth muscles will remember how to move.

Apply it Into Your Life

Why do we even memorize passages in the first place? Because they are important enough to us that we want to remember them. If something has meaning to you, you will include it into your life and live the author’s words.

Do you agree with the passage? Why did the author write what he/she wrote? How does it benefit you? What lessons can you learn from it to become a better person? Why is the passage relevant?

Write/Say it in Your Own Words

Everyone thinks differently and so everyone expresses themselves differently and speaks their ideas differently. When memorizing a passage it is important to know its main message. Find the main messages and write them down in your own words. Then compare your words with the original. How do they differ? Do they mean the same thing? Whose wording is stronger? Why?

This exercise will improve understanding of your language and writing skills. It will help you understand the words and message the author tries to convey.

Scramble Words/Phrases

Write the passage you wish to memorize in a writing document and change the font size to something large (26 or so). Print two copies out. Divide the passage into different short phrases and cut out each phrase. Then reassemble the pieces into its original form.

Take the second copy and cut it into different phrase, or word by word. Then reassemble the pieces.

Write it Backwards

This is probably the hardest one but it is a good brain exercise. If you can write or say the passage backwards you can certainly write or say it forwards. Take your time. Start at the end of the passage, write the last word down, and then write until you come to the first word.

If the passage is too long to end and start all at one time, divide it into smaller sections.

Last Few Tips

  • Remember the pizza metaphor. Do not eat the whole pizza at once. Divide your passage into sections and memorize each section first.
  • Practice every day
  • Practice does not always make perfect.  Perfect practice makes perfect.  Say the words correctly and you will memorize them correctly.  If you say them incorrectly but do not fix the problem spot, then you will memorize it the wrong way.
  • Recite for an audience
  • Record yourself
  • Practice for ten-fifteen minutes at a time. Take a break and then start again.

These are just a few ideas I had and some methods that help me memorize different passages. They may not all work for you, so test them and see what helps.

How do you memorize passages of words? Share in the comments.