reasonable expectations for memory work retention for 7 YO?


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  • caedmyn

    What are reasonable expectations for memory work retention for a 7 YO? She
    memorized the book of James and several chapters of Matthew over the past 2-3
    years and I have been having her review them by reading one chapter out loud per
    day. It takes 2-3 weeks to go through them all. We have been doing this for
    the first half of the school year (she was able to quote each chapter at the end
    of summer after a lot of review) and over Christmas break I started having her
    try to quote a chapter to me each day. I realized that she has not retained
    even half of what she had memorized. She needs help with most verses and I’d
    say on average she remembers maybe half of each verse without prompting.
    There’s some variation of course–sometimes she can say several verses with no
    help and some verses she might not remember at all. I expected her retention to
    be much higher. She is very bright.

    Does this sound like a reasonable amount of retention, or is there something I
    could be doing differently to help her remember more of what she has memorized?


    The fact that she could even memorize passages that long impresses me.



    well, after 3 or 4 years of doing memory verses as a family (moving when they seemed to have it) – I went through the verses and my two oldest (ages 9 and 6.5) actually had about 8 verses memorized each (not necessarily the same ones….) – so don’t ask me!

    Sara B.

    I agree with nebby.  Wow!  I would never have even attempted that much Scripture memory with any of my kids, no matter their ages!  Smile

    My kids (ages 9, 8, 6, & 3) know some verses really well, others not so much, and like suzukimom said, sometimes they are different passages that each has in their minds.  I think maybe it has to do with what God is placing on their hearts for their particular needs (especially for that of the future).  IDK, just a guess based on my observations.  We are working on memorizing Psalm 23 right now, and it is taking us a long time (of inconsistency, but I am actually amazed at how much they remembered since before Christmas break).  I won’t move on until I think they have it pretty well memorized.  My 3yo I help him say one sentence or phrase from whatever verse or passage.  We do that until he has it memorized and I just have to say the first word and he can say the whole thing all by himself.  I absolutely *love* his little-boy version of “Be strong and courageous.”  Melts a mama’s heart….  Laughing


    I don’t think its unreasonable to be doing whole chapters (my 4 and just turned 7 year olds have done complete Psalms, and I’m considering choosing a couple full-chapter length passages to work through this coming year). A couple of things I’ve found helpful for retention:

    – We take our time. I don’t put any kind of time limits on what we memorize. We simply work on it until it’s really solid, no matter how long it takes. (If I was still having to prompt as much as what you are, I wouldn’t move on yet.) It probably took us 2-3 months to do Psalm 139. I figure it’s better to know less Scripture really, really well than to race through a ton and discover later that we don’t really know it. I think it’s Sonya who said that Scripture memory is a life-long discipline we want to cultivate, not a race or a game or a trick to perform. That really resonated with me and has informed how we approach Scrpture memory.

    – Also, have you looked at SCM’s Scripture memory system? It is a brilliant way to organize your memory work so that you review the more recently learned verses/sections more often and the older, more familiar ones less often (while continuing to review all of them.) You can read about it here:

    HTH some,


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