In This Issue
Our Picks: Three Summer Learning Apps/Games for T(w)eens

Let's face it-teens love their screen time. But, it doesn't need to be wasted on Netflix or Fortnite. Check out our top three summer picks for games and apps that will keep your teen interested (while building executive function skills at the same time!).


This website allows kids to make comics they can print or share online. Pixton is a great tool for practicing creative writing skills and developing social skills. The website is available in any web browser and is very user-friendly!

Price : FREE


This is a great tool to prepare your child for the social challenges of middle school! This app is presented as a graphic novel and helps kids navigate the social issues of middle school through stories, tips, and quizzes. Topics include self-esteem, making friends, and fitting in. The app is available for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and Nook HD.


Price: $2.99


This app/website is FULL of DIY projects for teens! Many of these projects are great for developing organizational and planning skills, as well as improving attention. Sit with your child and select a summer project.


Price: FREE


Operation: Back-to-School

Prepare for a successful start to the school year and beyond by tackling the most annoying, yet critical, parts of gearing up for school, including back-to-school shopping!


Word searches are a great way to improve your child's executive functioning skills. They can help her with word recognition and spelling, improve her processing speed, and teach her how to problem solve efficiently. So the next time you're at the store, pick up a book of word searches!  #FunFriday

JULY 2018
I Remember! Tips for Improving Working Memory

By  Colette Hapi

Picture the scene: It's midnight. Your child is sitting at the kitchen table, frantically flipping through his textbook as he wills himself to remember pages and pages' worth of information in preparation for tomorrow's test. He looks up and says, "I can't do this. It's too much." While this is an unfortunate scenario, it's one that is all too common for students of all ages. Students often leave studying for the last minute, and by doing do, they don't give themselves the proper amount of time to review information and secure it into memory. By attempting to cram information into their short-term memory, they are more liable to forget key details. However, if they learn how to strengthen their working memory and set aside time to review information, they are more apt to recall the necessary material at a later date. 


For students to retain information, the targeted material needs to go through the three stages of memory: short-term, working, and long-term. Short-term memory maintains the brief storage and immediate recall of details; this is what you would use when memorizing a phone number before dialing it, for example. One must use short-term memory in order to access working memory, where an individual temporarily retains and utilizes information for a specific purpose. Long-term memory involves the encoding, maintenance, and recovery of information over a lengthier period of time. Working memory is crucial to academic success because it bridges the gap between short- and long-term memory; it is where an individual manipulates information in the short-term memory and helps convert it to the long-term so it becomes habitual. 


Working memory enables students to learn and follow directions, and it is essential that they practice strategies designed to improve this crucial mental aspect. If you're unsure whether your child struggles with his working memory, consider whether he has a hard time keeping one bit of information in mind while completing another task. For example, if he's helping you make spaghetti and the phone rings, does he forget he needs to go back and keep stirring the sauce after he hangs up the phone?  The good news is that you can help your child improve this executive function by building some working memory boosters into his daily life, such as:
Visualization . Visualization is the process of creating mental or physical images of what you read or hear. By integrating visual imagery with written language, an individual can more efficiently process, comprehend, and retrieve information. If your child is reading a book for school, ask him to choose a scene and draw it; he should pull evidence from the text about colors, backgrounds, sizes, and more to ensure his depiction is accurate. Not only is this strategy fun, it offers your child a concrete way to gauge his understanding of the material and is something he can refer to at a later time.

Have your child teach you. It has often been said that you don't know a topic well enough until you are able to teach it to someone else. Having your child teach you what he is currently learning will help him make sense of the information and also help him mentally file it away for later use. This is also a good strategy to help him take a slower, more methodical approach to the material since he will need to explain it step-by-step.

Play cards. As unorthodox as it may sound, playing card games can actually help improve your child's working memory. Simple card games like Crazy Eights, Uno, Go Fish, and War can improve working memory because your child has to not only keep the rules of the game in mind, but he also has to remember what cards he has and which ones other people have played. This could be a fun way of working towards strengthening working memory without it being a chore for your child.

Chunk information. It's easier to remember smaller groups of information than it is to remember big pieces. Give your child a large amount of directions or tasks, such as instructions to make dinner or a grocery list, and show him how to identify the similarities between certain items so that he can chunk them together. Helping your child break big amounts of information into small, bite-sized pieces will help him process the information better and more efficiently.

Make connections . While it may be difficult to spell "mnemonics," they're a handy tool that can improve memory because it's easier to recall pieces of information if they are associated with songs, rhymes, or acronyms. Help your child form associations that connect the different details he's trying to remember, and point out mnemonics he likely already knows, like "Roy G. Biv" or "PEMDAS." Finding ways to connect information helps with forming and retrieving that material at a later time.

Add exercise to their daily routine. Some studies have shown that working memory increases with daily exercise. While the reasons for this aren't fully understood, scientists believe physical activity improves the health of brain cells. It can also indirectly affect memory by improving mood, helping you sleep better, and reducing stress - areas that can affect cognitive abilities.

Make a study schedule. For your child to effectively utilize strategies to prepare for an upcoming assessment, it's crucial that he budget enough time to adequately study. Helping your child make a study schedule will enable him to review a little bit of information each day, which will facilitate his ability to visualize it, make an acronym, create a connection, and more!


Memorizing information doesn't have to be tedious. If your child takes the time to use fun strategies to improve his working memory, he will find that inputting and recalling new information will become easier and easier. So the next time your child is preparing for a test, remind him to Think Organized and try one of the aforementioned strategies!