Here is a good time to learn a memorization technique that can be applied any time someone needs to memorize something. Most new things are easy to memorize if a ridiculous visual is associated with what needs to be remembered. With Mr. Brown Can Moo, Cynthia started with a cow as the first sound Mr. Brown did, and then moved on to the buzzing of a bee. Cynthia pictured in her mind a giant bee mooing like a cow (versus a cow being stung by a bee, not so ridiculous). This was followed by the popping sound of a cork, so she pictured a bee being the actual cork in a bottle. Turn the page and you read the clopping of horse feet, so Cynthia pictured a horse doing a balancing act on glass bottles. All these mental images are associations to the next thing memorized.

As your child memorizes literature, you will find he appreciates it more. Encourage your child to put in a facial expression, a motion of some sort, or an emphasis in voice to add to the piece's interpretation. Use the memorization time to elaborate on its performance. The intricacies of the author's word choice will come into view for the young child, and an understanding for good literature will develop.


Little pleases or impresses grandparents more than the performance by their grandchildren. Holiday gatherings are great opportunities for the children to perform their piece and receive all the praise from relatives. The child will look forward to friends visiting so that she can perform her piece.

While choosing, reading, and memorizing, a piece may be done slouching on the couch or lying on the floor, but performance needs to be done in a specific posture. Performing is the time when the child needs to be conscious of the audience. Make the performing time nothing but performing. This is not the time for criticism or suggestion. If the child messes up or doesn't do as well as he or she did in previous practices, make a note to cover it in school. Do not give suggestions in front of the audience; save it for later. Besides, some in the audience may give the criticism anyway, so your child doesn't need to hear it from Coach Mom. If anything, praise, praise, praise the child's willingness to perform, and flood the child with encouragement. Such praise will encourage the child to try harder in practice to do a better job in performance next time.

Raising a Generation of Communicators

Of all the skills in education -- math, grammar, foreign language, civics, and so on--which is the most important? Most parents would agree that it is communication. Building a family of communicators instills children with an understanding and appreciation of real life. Incorporate speech activities into you home, and you will see how the actual "teaching" becomes natural.


Chris Jeub is the author of numerous speech and debate textbooks. This article was excerpted from Jeub's Complete Guide to Speech and Debate. He and his wife, Wendy, have 11 children--two of whom are homeschool graduates. Cynthia, who is referenced in this article, is now in her first year of debate. You can find more about the Jeub family's ministry at

Copyright 2005. Used with permission. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Right now, 19 free gifts when you subscribe.