I have been teaching people to memorize the presidents of the USA , since Clinton first became president. Although that may not seem like a long time, it’s been almost 20 years!
I was working with Kailey’s 10-year-old brother, Jacob, on how to memorize the presidents. We were using the “memory palace” memory training technique, of placing names on different pieces of furniture around the house. Kailey quietly observed everything we did, taking mental notes. She wasn’t sure exactly what we were doing, but she knew she wanted to do it too because she wanted to get the praise her brother was getting.
One day she begged me, “Ronnie teach me to memorize the Presidents! Teach me to memorize the Presidents!” At first, because I was tired, I said “not now,” but then a switch clicked on in my brain and I thought, “Wow I have a 6-year-old begging me to teach her something educational and I am saying ‘no’ because I am tired!” I didn’t want to lose this opportunity!
Let’s be perfectly clear – I did NOT use some silly song, rhyme or connecting story to teach her how to memorize the presidents. Why? For two reasons:
- When using a song, rhyme or story you must go throught the whole act, from beginning to end, and can’t leave anything out or it throws it off.
- You can’t go backwards, or out of order if you use them. It would be much harder to answer questions like: Who is the 14th president? Or, Who is the 32nd president? By memorizing a song, story or rhyme you can’t do this.
I used the same memory training method I used with her brother Jacob, the 2500-year-old memory method developed by Simonedes, also known as the ‘Father of Memory Training’. He came up with a system where you recall information by taking a picture in your mind of each person or idea you are trying to remember, and placing them in certain areas so you can visualize where they are.
In learning how to memorize anything, including the presidents, with this memory training system the first thing I asked Kailey to do was to number pieces of furniture in her home. After we did that we took a picture of each president and attached it to the furniture. She went around the house and saw 44 pictures on 44 pieces of furniture, and then this six-year-old repeated all the Presidents!
No understand, this was all done in ONE night — just a few hours! After she was able to do that I asked her if she would let me video her doing it again. She said, “You can record it for a dollar…” (Looks like she learned more than president’s names!) I was happy to pay the dollar, so here is the cutest six-year-old ever, reciting the Presidents of the USA from memory: