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Learning to remember and then say the names of three things

Why is this important?
Verbal understanding can be likened to a ‘list’ of things that need to be remembered in order to carry out a task. If, for example, a three-word instruction is given (e.g. ‘Wash doll’s face’), the child has to remember ‘wash’, ‘doll’ and ‘face’. If he/she can’t do this, it may be that auditory memory is not yet sufficiently developed.

What to do

  • Gather together a selection of pictures of everyday things. These could be cards or cut out from magazines.
  • Place a few cards (i.e. four) face-down on the table.
  • Choose three cards but don’t show them to the child.
  • Look at the cards and say what they are (e.g. ‘I’ve got a hat, a cup and a pencil’). Ask: ‘Can you remember what cards I’ve got?’
  • If the child is right, show your cards and reinforce: ‘Well done! A hat, a cup and a pencil!’
  • If the child finds it difficult or remembers only one or two items, repeat what cards you have, emphasising the key words (e.g. ‘I’ve got hat, cup and pencil’).
  • Try the activity with some action pictures (e.g. ‘doll is sitting’, ‘boy jumping bed’). Can the child copy these three-word phrases?