Tip Tuesday: Auditory Memory Activities!

Auditory memory activities

Last week I talked about a few of my go to visual memory activities and today I’d like to share some of my go to auditory memory activities I use for students who struggle with working memory and memory recall while also exhibiting underlying or comorbid language deficits.

For those of you familiar with auditory memory tasks to target (C)APD you will see these are not new or out of the ordinary activities:

  1. Auditory memory for associated or category items:  I like to begin with auditory memory for 2 or more associated or category items.  This way my student and I can talk about how each word is associated to the other, what category they belong to, in order to aid in memory recall.  I of course use the same techniques as explained in the visual memory activities such as repeating the words (in sequential order), repeating words with eyes closed (attempting to use visualization skills to “see the object(s)” in the child’s mind), and using delayed recall by waiting several seconds before asking the child to repeat words again (looking for a longer and longer delay between trials).  As the child masters smaller increments of items (2 or 3), I add more in order to expand working memory skills.
  2. Auditory memory for digits: The reason I do not use digits to begin with is that they don’t mean much to children.  It’s not as easy to talk about numbers as it is to talk about objects and describe them.  But as time goes not and a child can easily recall 3-5 associated words, a few numbers to recall should be fairly easy for a student.  Then I can work on manipulating working memory skills by recalling digits forward and backward.  I don’t spend much time on this activity just until I get to the point when my student is demonstrating ability to take in information that may not necessarily hold too much meaning for the child, manipulate it and recall it.
  3. Auditory recall for key words:  This activity is a great activity for working on improving auditory memory, language processing, and recall skills.  Teaching my client to choose the key words from a simple direction, complex directions, simple sentences, then complex sentences again facilitates working memory skills.  These skills should translate to the classroom environment evidenced by improved ability to follow classroom directions, follow along with classroom assignments, and complete simple multi-step assignments.
  4. Auditory recall of details for short stories:  The classic “answering WH?s about a story” task.  We have finally made it to this basic level of memory recall.  But if we look how far this child has come, we know this is no small easy task!  It’s been a long road to get to this point and we probably have still seen little generalization of these improved memory skills to functional skills in the classroom, however, we know we are on the right track.  This skill should generalize to comprehension tasks in the classroom for small amounts of auditory information.
  5. Auditory recall of details for longer stories:  As working memory skills improve, the more auditory information can be presented to the student.  This skills can directly correlate to recall of novel and repeated information during classroom lessons.  Also during this stage, I begin to present with different types of texts (narratives, expository text, persuasive texts, cause and effect texts, etc.).  I may begin with shorter texts for new text forms initially but the goal is the same:  longer texts and more detailed recall as time goes on.


These are just a few of my go to auditory memory activities.  Again, it doesn’t happen over night.  And yes our ability to progress may be limited by a student’s cognitive level but I do believe it’s always worth a try and we can always make something better for this student.  Next week I’d like to talk about using “talking and seeing” techniques to aid in working memory, recall and reading comprehension!

Happy talking and listening!