I just returned from short trip to Arizona. There’s nothing like seeing a different part of the country to remind you that retrieval is all about frequency of use and recency of use. For the last four months, I have been using words like snow, sleet, wind-chill, and blizzard. Suddenly I was using words like Sonoran, saguaro, and …oh, my, what are those ugly pig-looking animals called?? Javelinas! (Actually, I think the plural is javelina) It was a good reminder that when vocabulary words haven’t been used in a while, they are difficult to retrieve. I would not expect my midwest kids to be rapid retrievers of the same words that kids in the southwest use regularly. We need to choose words that are functional to help our word finders!
Please remember Dr. Diane German’s recommendations for mnemonic cues. A detailed description is found here: http://www.wordfindingforkids.com/an-endorsement-from-the-word-finding-guru/
As a quick review:
- Select a word that is difficult for the learner to retrieve.
- Divide the target word into syllables, and reinforce each syllable of multi-syllable words.
- Associate similar-sounding, easy-to-retrieve words with “evasive” syllables.
- Say the target word aloud 5 times.
- Make up a meaningful sentence using the word.
Please remember to think of the cue as you practice saying the target word out loud.
So how did I remember javelina? I pictured a javelina wearing a pink tutu — javelina ballerina! Ridiculous? Yes, but certainly an image I am not likely to forget!