For Kids: What is Working Memory?

What is working memory?

Do you forget things you are supposed to do? Do you have trouble remembering or understanding things you’ve read? Is it hard to remember to bring your homework to school even after you’ve spent all that time working on it? If you feel like everything you need to remember everyday is just too much, you might have a problem with your working memory.

What is working memory? Working memory is different from the memory you use to remember a fun time at your cousin’s house or the huge ice cream cone you ate at the beach last summer. Working memory helps you keep an idea or a picture in your head while you do something. It helps with reading and math, remembering directions, and when you have to do a bunch of things all at the same time.

The good news is that you can do things to improve your working memory if you are having trouble with reading or math, forgetting stuff, or having problems following directions. So how can you improve working memory?

Ask someone for help. Ask your parents or your friends to remind you about important homework assignments as soon as you get them.

Keep it low-tech. Don’t always rely on technology to help you remember stuff. The simplest idea is to always carry a pen. Even if you don’t have a notebook a piece of paper to write on, you always have the back of your hand.

A place for everything. Designate a place where you put everything you need to remember. Maybe you’ll use a small notebook, a basket in your room, a pocket in your backpack, or an app on your phone. But always keep everything in the same place.

You can use video games and apps to help you with working memory, too. Check out these Let’s Play videos to see how.


Featured image: Flickr user Christine Puccio

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