10 Mnemonic Devices That Every Elementary Schooler Will Remember

Mnemonic strategies are ways to remember things. Want to give your youngster some fun ways to commit lesson content to memory in the elementary grades? She’ll enjoy learning these ten tricks spanning several subjects:


  • If you think about the structures that are near them, you’ll have a nifty clue to the names of the Great Lakes: Use the word HOMES, which stands for Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
  • Here’s a tip for remembering the direction of longitude (vs. latitude): Unlike the word latitudelongitude has an N, which stands for north, reminding you that longitude runs north and south.


  • Henry the VIII of England was infamous for the number of women he married — and for their sometimes violent ends! Here’s a rhyme to help you remember what happened to each of King Henry’s wives: Divorced, Beheaded, Died; Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.
  • Here’s a different rhyme to help you remember when Columbus found America: In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Language Arts

  • To remember what a synonym is, use its first letter as a clue. Both the words synonym and samestart with the letter S: A synonym is a word that means the same thing as another word.
  • Use a similar trick to remember the word antonym. Antonym starts with “ant,” just like “anti,” which also means opposite: An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word.


  • Recalling the steps of long division is a family project! Just think of these members of a family: Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother, Rover. They represent the process of long division: Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Bring Down, Remainder.
  • Here’s a funny reminder phrase for letters and values of Roman numerals (in value order): I Value Xylophones Like Cows Dig Milk, which stands for I=1, V=5, X=10, L= 50, C=100, D=500, M=1,000.


When learning to read sheet music, you can remember which notes are which with these two tricks:

  • The notes in the spaces on the treble staff are as plain as the nose on your F-A-C-E!
  • Kids who behave themselves can always identify the notes on the lines of the treble staff because they know Every Good Boy Does Fine.


  • To recall the colors of the rainbow — Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet — think of this quick history lesson: Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain, or the name “Roy G. Biv.”
  • To name the planets of our solar system — Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and optional Pluto — one of these mouth-watering phrases will help: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas (including Pluto), or My Very Excited Mother Just Served Us Nachos (without Pluto).


  • Think of these two related definitions when you want to know whether to use the spelling “principal” or “principle”: The principal of your school is your PAL. A principle is a RULE he wants you to follow. Each word ends with the same letters as its definition.
  • “Dessert,” the noun for something sweet after dinner, and “desert,” the verb for abandoning someone or something, sound the same. To tell them apart, remember: We always want seconds of a sweet treat — that’s why “dessert” has two Ss. When everyone runs away from someone, that person is alone — and that’s why “desert” has only one S.


Hayden, K. (2014, May 27). Memorization Help for Students: A List of Helpful Mnemonic Devices. Retrieved November 11, 2014, from Bright Hub Education

Karim, C. (2014, January 1). Memory Tricks. Retrieved November 11, 2014, from Let Kids Lead

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