Memory Zoo – App Review

Memory Zoo – App Review

The influx of Educational Apps makes it very difficult to decide which apps are worthwhile and which are not.

Memory Zoo is an Auditory Memory app that is compatable with  iPod & iPad.


My rubric is based on

Thank you Deb for all your hard work and for sharing!


App Review Checklist & Rating Chart: Total Score 20

Speech/Language/Education Apps




App is easy to use & does not crash  1
Content is appropriate  1
No in app purchases required for use  1
Help/tutorial Available  0
App does not contain ads  1
App is fairly priced and/or comparable to other similarly priced apps  1


App can be customized for different users  1
App can be used for single user or groups  1
In app data collection is available  1
Content/data can easily be exported  0
User data is saved from session to session  0
App provides useful feedback for user to allow for improved performance  1


Design graphics/sounds are appealing  1
App is interactive, engaging & motivating for user  1


App is designed to target speech/language skills/auditory processing  1
App is easily adapted to target speech/language skills  1
App encourages critical thinking and higher level language  1
App has good potential for interaction between user and therapist  1
Skill reinforced is connected to targeted skill or concept  1
App can be used across a variety of age/developmental groups  1


Star Rating

5 stars     17 – 20 points

4 stars       13 – 16 points

3 stars        9 – 12 points

2 stars          5 – 8 points

1 star            0 – 4 points


           App Review: Memory Zoo
          App Name:     Memory Zoo
          Price:                Free


Memory Zoo is fun memory challenge that can be customized to suit all ages.  The app comprises of three games in one which can be used to target memory in different ways. Although it is relies primarily on visual memory there is an auditory component too.




In this game, you are shown a series of animals on the screen. You have to remember the location of ALL the animals to advance to the next screen.  It starts off simply but every time you get something correct an additional item is added.


Similar to the animal hunt game; you are shown a group of animals. However, this time, instead of remembering the location of all animals, you just have to be able to recall the location of a specific animal.  This can be done by listening to an auditory cue, a visual written cue or both a visual and auditory cue.


This is an animal version of the classic memory card “pairs” game.


Game is easy to use and intuitive.

The settings allow you to adjust the difficulty levels and it can be used for children from about 4 ½ years old right through primary school. In fact, I really enjoyed playing with this app too.

Settings can be changed: This includes the reveal time of the target stimulus and board size.

Skill settings can also be adjusted to have audio or visual, or both cues.

The game can be paused to allow for discussion between turns. Memory strategies can be discussed and the child can be encouraged to try and use them.

App can be used with up to four players in a group.

There is both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The children really want to try “one more time” to improve on their own score and they really want their name on the leader board for all to see.



The app does not allow for data storage and transfer from session to session (unless you appear on the leader board).

Settings cannot be adjusted during the game. This would allow the facilitator to mediate the game more appropriately for the child.

Although the app is intuitive, there is no help/tutorial and it took me a while to figure out what the hearts and the torches were for. The “torches” give you another look at the sequences and if you find a “heart” you get an extra life.

Some of the animals are not familiar to the South African population.

A bigger variety of animals would allow for further vocabulary development.



Based on my app rating system, I gave Memory Zoo

17/20 points and

5/5   stars.

Well worth it!


12 Games to Improve your Memory

12 Games to Improve your Memory

It must be remembered that everyone has a learning style that is best suited to them. Some people may find that they have a dominant style of learning, with far less use of the other styles. Others may find that they use different styles in different circumstances. There is no right mix. Nor are your styles fixed.

You can develop ability in less dominant styles, as well as further develop styles that you already use well.

Using multiple learning styles and multiple intelligences for learning is a relatively new approach. By recognizing and understanding your own learning styles, you can use techniques better suited to you.


There are three basic learning styles

Auditory Learners: Hear

Auditory learners would rather listen to things being explained than read about them. Reciting information out loud and having music in the background may be a common study method. Other noises may become a distraction resulting in a need for a relatively quiet place.

Visual Learners: See

Visual learners learn best by looking at graphics, watching a demonstration, or reading. For them, it’s easy to look at charts and graphs, but they may have difficulty focusing while listening to an explanation.

Kinesthetic Learners: Touch

Kinesthetic learners process information best through a “hands-on” experience. Actually doing an activity can be the easiest way for them to learn. Sitting still while studying may be difficult, but writing things down makes it easier to understand.


A previous post touched on some strategies to improve memory. In order to internalise these strategies and use them effectively, they must be practiced. Some fun activities which can be used are discussed below.

The activities are graded according to difficulty.

They gradually strengthen the child’s ability to focus on what is heard, to attend to detail and to discriminate different sounds.

The skills build on each other. Keep playing them until your child finds the games too easy or gets bored with them, then move on.


1. Singing in Your Head

Choose a children’s song with actions, such as “Incy Wincy Spider”, and join your child in singing the song – first out loud, then silently, in your heads, while still doing the actions. Do this with as many songs as you can. Try to ensure that the child is saying all the words and not just mumbling the words.

This helps a child develop internal rehearsal skills, which are helpful for short-term memory.


2. Tap Counting

Tap a pencil on a table, have the child tell you how many taps he heard. Start with three slow beats. Show how to count out loud along with the taps, then show how to count them silently, in your head. Take turns beating/giving answers. When child catches on, add more beats. Have him make taps while you count, too.


3. Rhythm Repeat

Tap or clap a short rhythm pattern for your child to repeat (such as – two slow claps, then two fast claps). When your child catches on, vary the timing and loudness of claps to make new rhythm patterns.

This game can be increased in difficulty by not allowing the child to watch you clapping.

Allow the child to be leader then purposely make a mistake to see if the child can retain his own pattern. Other materials can be used, such as a drum, pot, sticks, or tapping of a foot.


4. That’s Silly

Take turns making statements that have a silly mistake in them, such as “The dishwasher washes clothes”, or “Horses have four wheels”, or “The radio was too loud, so I turned it up”. You can play this as a game… or just do it randomly — for a humorous touch. (When it’s your child’s turn to make up a sentence, be sure to “miss” some of the mistakes to make it more fun).


5. Simon Says

This is the classic game where the person who is “It” calls out directions that must be followed. The player(s) must be careful to only comply when the directions are prefaced by the phrase “Simon Says”.

Not responding when directions are given requires a lot of impulse control, and your child may need another year before he or she is ready for that rule.

Try to include directions that involve both sides and the whole body, such as, “Touch your ear. Now, with the same hand, touch your other ear” “Use your right hand to touch your left knee”, “Stand like a teapot” (one hand on hip, other in the air), “Crawl like a puppy”, “Do 3 jumping jacks”.  This engages the auditory and kinesthetic learning.


6. Telephone Number Game

Pretend you are calling your friend – what is her number? You can use a toy phone to add interest to this game. Take turns making up strings of numbers for the other to repeat.

A child should be able to remember about seven digits by the age of 7 years but if telephone numbers (containing 7 digits) are chunked into 3 parts then a 4 to 5 year old child should be able to recall it.


7. Number Songs

Attach melodies and rhythms to strings of numbers, then have your child repeat them. Try a cha-cha or a conga beat, the intro to Beethoven’s 5th, or the melodies from popular songs. Show your child how strings of numbers can be remembered more easily when associated with a catchy tune. Try the Telephone Number Game using this technique.


8. How Do You Spell?

If the child is old enough to write, then dictate words to them, giving them the spelling in groups of letters. Begin with two letters at a time. Instruct the child to repeat the letter silently (only in her head), after you say it, then write the letters. When the child can do this, move on to three letters at a time. Once again, chunking letters together will give the letters a pattern and help the child keep track of “where they are” in the word.


9. I went to Market and I bought…..

In this traditional game, the first person recites, “I went to market and bought myself a XXX,” (inserting an item of their choice.)  The second person recites, “I went to market and bought myself a XXX and a YYY” (adding an item of their choice.)  The game continues with each new person reciting the previous list before adding their choice of item.

Using visual imagery (often absurd images) assists with recall. Help the child initially to create the visual image and then encourage the child to start creating their own images.


10. The Name Game

This is a group activity to learn people’s names. Play it first with groups where the children  are familiar with each other (so it won’t be too hard). Each person says their name, and something they like, such as “I am Michael, I like trains.” The next person must repeat what previous people have said, then add their own name and what they like. “Michael likes trains. I am Sarah, and I like playing the piano.” The next person will have to say, “Michael likes trains, Sarah likes piano. I am Zach, and I like soccer.”

This game is challenging for many children as it requires each child to come up with something unique about themselves.


11. Bleep

Give the child a number of  “forbidden” words (e.g. blue, round, rain).  Then read a short passage or story that contains several of the “forbidden” words.  The child has to “bleep” whenever they hear a “forbidden” word. This can be done at home when reading a bed-time story.

Start with only two or three “forbidden” words (or only one for younger children) then gradually increase the number of words to be remembered – and “bleeped”

Variation:  Select a volunteer to be the “bleeper”.

Variation: Select a “forbidden” word (or more than one) that lasts throughout the whole day.


 12. Reverse

Challenge the child to remember a short sequence of (random) numbers – which they then have to recall in reverse order.

Starting sequences may contain only 3 or 4 numbers but pupils will soon be capable of recalling longer sequences.

Variation:  Alternatively, you can use letters – or words – instead of numbers


This is by no means a comprehensive list:

These are simply some fun ideas to work on memory in a game.


There are a variety of Apps available to stimulate Auditory Memory and I will be looking at some of these in the coming weeks. 🙂


Read for Mandela Day

Read for Mandela Day

The over-riding objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better. Ultimately it seeks to empower communities everywhere.

Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.”


If you are going to be reading to children on Mandela Day, why not read WITH them?

Paired Reading

Paired Reading is a simple yet very effective way of improving a child’s reading. It helps to improve their basic reading ability (i.e. the ability to read words quickly and accurately) and their ability to understand whatever is being read. It also increases confidence and self-esteem.


Think about a child learning to ride a bike. In the early stages you give the child encouragement, confidence and control, by holding the bicycle. Your own instinct will tell you when to let go. So you can gradually disengage for longer periods until your child is able to ride without help. The same applies to Paired Reading. It is an ideal way of helping a child become an independent reader.


How to do Paired Reading
  • Together with the child you read aloud.
  • Pace your reading to the speed of the child.
  • Decide on a quiet signal to be used by the child when he or she feels she is ready to read alone – like a tap on the hand.
  • If the child makes a mistake give the child 5 seconds to self-correct.
  • If they don’t, point to the word, say the word and get the child to repeat the word.
  • Then rejoin in reading together again- until again the child feels confident to read again by him or herself.


When and how often should paired reading be done?
  • It can be done at home or at school. You should aim to read 3 times a week.
  • It must be carried out for at least 8-10 weeks.


Which type of books should be read?
  •  Books or magazines can be used as long as they are at the child’s reading level.
  • The child should be allowed to choose their own book or magazine to read as long as it isn’t too difficult for them.
  • Preferably choose a book with a large font – small print will be more difficult to read.
  • If the child makes more than 5 mistakes on the first page, then the book is too difficult and you should encourage the child to select an easier book.


Anyone can help with Paired Reading – moms, dads, older brothers and sisters, grandparents, other family members and family friends.

Keep reading time fun.

Use lots of praise when your child is doing well.

Books have the power to benefit in a myriad of ways. As a parent, reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do to prepare him with a foundation for academic excellence. So go ahead – empower your child!

Make every day a Mandela day and read, read read!

How to improve your memory

How to improve your memory

Auditory memory is highly correlated with achievement and learning and although auditory memory capacity is genetically determined, and therefore unlikely to change, it is possible to improve academic performance by improving the efficiency of existing capacity using memory intervention techniques.


Fundamental to the ability to recall information are the following:

  • Attention
  • Active Listening
  • Calmness – increased anxiety affects memory
  • Adequate Rest – lack of sleep impacts on concentration and memory


A mnemonic is a specific reconstruction of the target content intended to tie new information more closely to the learner’s existing knowledge base and thereby facilitate retrieval. There are a variety of mnemonic techniques which can be used.



 The first letter from a group of words is used to form a new word.

For example;   SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus)

SOWETO (SOuth WEstern TOwnships)

ROYGBIV (Rainbow Colours – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo,    Violet)




Like acronyms, you use the first letter of each word you are trying to remember. Instead of making a new word, though, you use the letters to make a sentence.

For Example;  King Phil Came Over for the Genes Special (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Genus, Species)

Sentences are often used to assist children recall sight-word spelling.

For example “South Africa Is Dry” = “said”
Betty Eats Cake And Uncle Sells Eggs = because

The disadvantage of acronyms and sentences is that they may assist with memorization but not comprehension.



Rhythm, repetition, melody, and rhyme can all aid memory.

Just think how many children sing the “Barney” “I love you” song perfectly. 🙂

Many children learn the alphabet to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

A combination of rhyme and visual association is useful when trying to recall a list of items People learn a series of words that serve as “pegs” on which memories can be “hung.” (maximum 10). For example:

One – gun

Two – shoe

Three – tree

Four – door

Five – hive

Six – sticks

Seven – heaven

Eight – gate

Nine – wine

Ten – hen

To learn a grocery list for example, one might associate gun and bread by imagining the gun shooting the bread. Two is a shoe, so one would imagine a pouring tomato sauce over the shoe, and so on.

When you need to remember the list of groceries, you simply recall the peg-words associated with each number; the peg-words then serve as retrieval cues for the groceries.



This technique combines the use of organization, visual memory, and association.

  • Identify a familiar path that you walk.
  • This could be from the entrance of the school to the classroom.  What is essential is that you have a vivid visual memory of the path and objects along it.
  • Imagine yourself walking along it, and identify specific landmarks that you will pass. For example, the first landmark on your walk could be the security hut, then the fish-pond, then the playground, the office and the classroom. The number of landmarks you choose will depend on the number of things you want to remember.
  • Associate each landmark with each piece of material that you need to remember. You do not have to limit this to a path. You can use the same type of technique with just about any visual image that you can divide into specific sections. The most important thing is that you use something with which you are very familiar.



Repeating words or numbers, either vocally or sub-vocally (e.g. try saying the numbers over and over, like this: 2, 7, 5; 2, 7, 5; 2, 7, 5.);



When you have large chunks of information to remember, it is easier to group related information together. This is the premise of “mind maps” which encourages children to identify key concepts and then group them together using visual representation.

On an auditory level, for example, when trying to recall a telephone number it is easier to recall 78 22 781 than each number individually.


Finally just to remind those who may have already forgotten 


 CLARRS (Chunking, Loci, Acronyms, Rehearsal, Rhyme, Sentences) 🙂
Auditory Memory: In one ear and out of the other?

Auditory Memory: In one ear and out of the other?

The frustration of talking to children where information goes “in one ear and out the other” is common to both teachers and parents. But for children with a poor auditory memory, this statement is pretty close to the truth.

Auditory Working Memory is a system for temporarily storing and managing
the information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning, and comprehension

Can you add together 23 and 69 in your head?

When you ask for directions somewhere, can you get there without writing the instructions down?

Such tasks engage working memory, the memory we use to keep information immediately “in mind” so we can complete a task.

Some children find this relatively easy. Others try to carry out the instructions, but lose track of the details along the way.

Auditory Working Memory involves:
  1. Taking in information that is presented orally and Listening actively in order to rehearse what we have because this information rapidly decays after one or two seconds.
  2. Attending Selectively in order to repeat the information to ourselves. Research has shown that if short term memory is low, we have a hard time selecting what we wish to hear. In other words, selective attention doesn’t work so well when auditory memory is poor.

    Selective Attention

  3. Processing that information for meaning
  4. Storing  it in your mind
  5. Recalling what you have heard.


A “breakdown” in auditory memory can occur at any point in the pathway


Auditory Memory Pathway


In the classroom, teachers may describe these children as

  • Inattentive,
  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetting what they have learned,
  • Forgetting instructions
  •  Makes place-keeping errors (skipping or repeating steps)
  • Not completing tasks,
  • Making careless mistakes,
  • Difficulty in solving problems

If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you are right!
A great deal of research in the last few years has shown that low auditory working memory is indeed associated with ADD/ADHD. Some research has shown that stimulant medications can enhance one’s auditory-verbal and visual-spatial working memory. However, there is no long term benefit. In other words, the working memory is improved only as long as the medication is in the system.


However some auditory memory weaknesses of students can easily go undetected by a teacher especially when there are no signs of ADD or ADHD.

Often children with auditory memory problems appear to be trying very hard to listen.
Their eyes are focused on the teacher and they appear to be attentive.
The teacher assumes that the child has heard all that is being taught. However, in reality, they often absorb and make sense out of very little of what is being stated by the teacher.

As a result, these students recall only a small amount or none of what is being said. They might remember a word here or there, or parts of a thought, but often do not truly understand much of the information presented orally to them.

The ability to learn from oral instructions and explanations is a fundamental skill required throughout life.


The following difficulties may arise because of poor auditory memory.


Poor Comprehension of Orally Presented Directions:
  • Often the child thinks that he has understood directions for completing an assignment, when actually he has understood very little. As a result, assignments are often completed incorrectly.
  • The child may only be able to take-in and think about only three or four words at a time so they only hear three or four words.
  • Subconsciously he stops listening in order to process the information.
  • Then he listens again.
  • As a result, the child loses a word or two from every phrase. The information no longer makes sense and becomes confusing, boring, and hard to pay attention to.

While some children can recall a lengthy sentence well, they may not be able to process and recall a short passage that is presented orally. These students may be able to answer a specific question about the information that has been presented to them orally or that they have read, but are not able to grasp the whole paragraph.

The child thinks that he knows what he has heard or read orally, when actually, he has processed and recalled very little of the material.

Sometimes parents and educators assume that children have understood an entire passage when they answer a specific question about the passage, yet, that specific information might be all that they have gleaned from the passage!

It is therefore important that when reading stories to children, they are encouraged to retell the story with the main idea and supporting details, in order to demonstrate that they have total comprehension.


Difficulty Copying from the Board:

As mentioned in the first example, a child with auditory memory difficulties can often only remember one or two words at a time. He therefore needs to constantly look up at the board, down at his paper, up at the board, down at his paper. Copying from the board is a tedious task for him whereas other children can remember a sentence at a time.


Difficulty Taking Notes:

In order to take notes you need to:

  • Listen to the teacher.
  • Hold what you have heard in memory while writing it down.
  • Continue listening as the teacher continues with the next sentence.
  •  If you are not writing verbatim what the teacher says, you must also use logic and reasoning to form your own thoughts about what’s being said, while writing, while listening.

If your auditory memory is poor, auditory processing, processing speed, or logic and reasoning, note taking could be practically impossible.


 Reading Difficulties:

Phonics (sounds) is an auditory learning system and it is imperative to have a sufficient auditory short term memory in order to learn, utilize and understand reading using phonics.  The ability to hold speech sounds in memory is needed for tasks such as comparing phonemes, relating phonemes to letters, and sounding out words.


 Spelling Difficulties:

Many poor-spellers depend on memory for spelling and so they don’t do very well. Even someone with a superior memory can only “remember” the spelling of a few hundred words. Spelling is actually an auditory and a visual skill.

You must be able to hear the sounds within the words and to visualize. How often have you spelled a word and recognized, “No, that doesn’t look right?”

Children who memorize spelling words often forget the words soon after the spelling test. The brain says, “I don’t need that anymore,” and dumps the words to make room for next week’s spelling list.


 Poor vocabulary:

Children may experience difficulty developing a good understanding of words, remembering terms and information that has been presented orally, for example, in history and science classes. These students will also experience difficulty processing and recalling information that they have read to themselves.

When we read we must listen and process information we say to ourselves, even when we read silently. If we do not attend and listen to our silent input of words, we cannot process the information or recall what we have read. Therefore, even silent reading involves a form of listening.

The good news is that auditory memory is trainable and like any muscle the more you exercise it, the more it will improve.

The not so good news is that the capacity for auditory memory appears to have a genetic basis and if you have a poor auditory memory the chances are that you won’t be able to rely on someone in your family for help.