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Read It!

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Rom. 15:4

What is the best way to begin memorizing? Simple. READ IT, but don’t be lazy. Read your memory verse in context thoughtfully and slowly. If you are memorizing a portion of a larger work, I recommend that you read through the entire chapter (or story) on the first day. If you are using SMF books, I recommend that you read through all of the commentary on the first day. Consider day 1 to be your overview. You want to have a general idea of the verses and what they mean.

Now, the repetition begins. Read your memory verses aloud five times emphasizing different words each time. Try to make a visual memory of what the words look like on the page, then close your eyes and try to "read" your verse in your "mind's eye." Our VerseLocker app never places more than eight words on each line. Ancient memorizers called this an “eye’s glance.” The essential brevity of each line allows you to retain the short series of words in your short-term memory. In psychology, this is called The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two. Short-term memory can only remember around seven things at a time. You should read your verses aloud as much as possible. Leveraging your sight and sound will help make a lasting memory. Retaining words better by saying them aloud is sometimes called the production effect. It is proven that memories created across multiple senses at one time tend to be recalled more accurately (i.e. sound and sight working together).

If you are working with small children, or if you consider yourself to be young at heart, I recommend making a game of your recitations. Read it forcefully, read it softly, read it with an accent…you get the idea. What is learned with pleasure is learned full measure.

I like to read through my verses while I am waiting in line or on my lunch break. These few extra minutes of “redeeming the time” (Eph. 5:16) give me opportunity to reinforce my short-term memory. However, these occasional readings do not qualify as reading thoughtfully and slowly. The bulk of my quality memory work usually happens either early morning or late evening when distractions are minimal. I prefer to read and memorize one line at a time. I will say the first line out loud three times, then try to say it without looking. If I succeed, then I move to line two and say it three times. Then I try to say line one and two together without looking, etc.

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