## Thursday, September 22, 2016

### Working Memory and Memorization In Action

Working Memory and the ability to Memorize on the spot are my two favorite skills.  I don't think these are typically classified as cognitive skills.  Cognitive skills more related to problem solving. Working Memory and Memorization are superpowers which help kids when they are using their cognitive skills.

A few weeks ago, my child was explaining what he was learning in math at school.  In this case, it was number sets (Natural, Rational, Irrational, Complex).  Since these topics are so interesting to me, I walked him through Transcendental numbers, how Transcendental numbers dominate the Real number line, and why Complex numbers have completed the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra by filling in its gaps, not to mention much of the rest of math.  I'm not an expert here, but I had a good book that I was reading from, and it's pretty cool.

This particular child is 50% Intentionally gifted and 50% Accidentally gifted.  (See the last article).

While I was walking him through these concepts, he was totally baffled, as you probably were when you read the painful paragraph above.  Unlike you, he was memorizing concepts as I defined them (using his Memorization superpower) and keeping them in his brain while he worked them (using his Working Memory superpower).   Can you repeat what I said above about number sets?  I couldn't. He did.

The result was that he could slowly work through these concepts and he slowly made sense of them. Without his two superpowers, this would have taken a very long time, would have been very painful, would have involved tears, and most likely would have been a waste of time.

For the last few years I have been recommending Vocabulary Workshop.   All of the word memorization has paid off, but not just with a big vocabulary.   It has paid off with the ability to memorize.

I have recommended reading, Reading Comprehension workbooks, and certain books for 2 to 4 year olds called Test Prep math that build working memory.   If your child is Fundamentally gifted, maybe she doesn't need this skill.  For the rest of us, the working memory problems in the Test Prep math series are at double what cognitive skills tests use.  Either your child has a sharp enough intellect to understand the different types of infinity right off the bat, or this child needs a strong working memory to hold these new concepts while he thinks through them.

During the course of test prep for a 4 year old child, you will see these two super powers in action, and you will probably encounter your child's limits.  Over the next 4 years, developing these super powers should be a high priority.  There is a big payoff down the road.