[Article] The Imagery-Language Connection for Memory: Tips for Teachers

Sep 14, 2016


Nearly all the volumes written on memory include references to imagery. Memory is often referred to as a mental impression. When we remember something, we access a mental representation of it.

-Nanci Bell, Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking


Students are expected to learn new information, in topic areas they may or may not be interested in, every day. Students then need to hold on to all these new things they are learning, and use the information in context. Unfortunately, students may lack the memory skills critical for school success. Note how weak memory skills can affect student performance:




Many students with weak memory have difficulty creating mental images for language. This weakness causes individuals to get only “parts” of information they read or hear, but not the whole. Students with weak language comprehension can seem like they are just not trying, or that they are distractible.  In fact, they may be trying very hard to memorize everything they have heard or read. And they need help.


Teachers can develop their students’ memory by using language that connects to what they visualize. Check out our tips for helping your struggling students and the whole class remember what they are learning:


Imagine Homework


Student planners, teacher web pages or weekly newsletters often look to us like they have everything needed to complete an assignment. Yet day after day, there are those students who somehow missed the message. For example, a student may copy the following into her day planner from the board:




However, if the student was not visualizing the assignment as the teacher discussed it, she may be unsure whether or not the teacher expects written responses to the questions. Or, she may have even gone home without her World History book! Make sure your class understands the directions for every assignment. Ask your class, “What does that look like?” or “What do you picture for that?” to help them create imagery for each task.


Imagine Vocabulary

Teachers can use language that stimulates imagery when lessons include new, essential vocabulary. For example, during a lesson on photosynthesis, ask questions like, “What are you picturing for what the sunlight is doing?” and, “What do you see happening?”


To commit new terms to memory, flashcards are a great tool for practice that you can send home or use in groups.  Have students write the word on one side of the card. The other side should include the definition, a hand drawn picture, and a brief sentence using the word in context. During practice, use language that prompts her to draw on her images. Instead of, “Do you remember the steps of photosynthesis?” ask, “What are you picturing for photosynthesis?” and “What do you see happening next?” If a term is unstable, flip over the card for her definition and drawing to discuss. Create piles for “fast,” “medium,” and “slow” cards to help focus practice sessions.


Teachers are developing imagery and memory when they ask students to verbalize their images from a previous lesson, or a reading assignment. This also helps students experience how imagery helps them remember.


Imagine Facts

You can teach students to image and recall maps, names, dates, and numerals with the help of air-writing or air-drawing to establish imagery. Some examples:


Imagery for a Map

You can use language to help students connect with the visual image of a map you are introducing (e.g. an outline of the continent of Africa). Start by having your students look at a simple map together and describe what they see. Take it away and have your students visualize the map, and call on students to verbalize what they are seeing as they air-draw it, “It is large on top, like this. . .”  Show your students the map again and discuss any key shapes or landmarks. A thorough orientation like this is an excellent precursor to drawing maps with paper and pencil.


Imagery for Symbols

Memorizing important dates, formulas and more is easier when you have students visualize, verbalize and air-write the information. For example, if students are using flashcards to study chemical formulas, have them write the name of the compound on one side of a card and the formula on the other, for example, carbon dioxide → CO2  H.


To memorize, have students read the name of the compound and formula aloud: “Carbon dioxide, CO2. Cover the card and have students visualize and verbalize the formula as they write it in the air with their finger, as if on an invisible chalkboard: “CO2”.


Let them check the stimulus to see if they got it right.


Imagery is key to accessing our memory for information. If you have students with weak concept imagery—the ability to create an imagined gestalt (whole) from language, you may want to explore the Visualizing and Verbalizing Program. The development of concept imagery improves reading and listening comprehension, memory, oral vocabulary, critical thinking, and writing. Find the Visualizing and Verbalizing Teacher Workshop Schedule here.

Connect with us
Can you or someone you know relate to Cora’s difficulty with comprehension? 🤔 
We help all ages learn to their full potential! 🤩
#studenttestimonial #readinghelp #comprehension #comprehensionskills #lindamoodbell
Help your student finish the school year strong—make the switch to Lindamood-Bell Academy! We provide evidence-based instruction and a full curriculum, personalized to your child's needs. Learning with our Academy is engaging and effective whether you choose to attend in person or live online. Take a virtual tour of our school at the link in bio, @lindamoobellofficial.
Don't wait another year to make the switch. Your student can catch up or get ahead and start thriving. . . THIS school year!  Attend in person, live online, or both. To get you started, we're offering a discount on the first month of tuition. Get details and take a virtual tour at the link in bio, @lindamoobellofficial.
Lindamood-Bell online instruction is engaging and effective for individuals with reading and learning difficulties, including students with autism. Watch this family's full testimonial at the link in bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
Is your student struggling in reading, comprehension, or math? No matter where you live, Lindamood-Bell is here for you! Our live-online instruction is effective and engaging—and available worldwide. Watch our online instruction in action at the link in bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
Your student can catch up and start thriving at our unique private school! Lindamood-Bell Academy offers a flexible school environment, 1:1 evidence-based instruction, and a full curriculum. Attend in-person or live online. Make the switch soon and receive 10% off a month of tuition. Get info at the link in bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
Students with dyslexia can learn how to read to their potential with Lindamood-Bell! Watch this family's entire testimonial, "Unlocking a Love of Reading: How Online Instruction Helped a Student with Dyslexia Succeed." Link in bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
Teachers and families, 
Honor Dr. King's legacy by helping your student learn about his life and message. Download a free lesson packet from Gander Publishing—it includes vocabulary practice, higher-order thinking skills questions, and activities. Free download at the link in bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
#teacherresources #teachersofinstagram #lindamoodbell #MLKDay2023
Is your student struggling? Make the switch now to Lindamood-Bell Academy—in-person or live-online. We address each student's underlying learning ability and provide a full curriculum. Your student can catch up and experience school success. Learn more and get started at the link in bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
New Podcast Episode!
Our guest, Dr. Robert Pasternack, discusses current topics in education, including learning loss and student mental health. Dr. Pasternack is the former Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education. Listen and subscribe at the link in bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
Imagine what your student could accomplish with improved reading skills and new confidence! Watch this family's entire testimonial at the link in bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
Lindamood-Bell Academy provides evidence-based instruction for students, including those with dyslexia. We develop the cognitive skills needed for academic success!
⭐Live-Online or In-Person
⭐Individualized curriculum
Make the switch now for the second semester. Get info at the link in bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
If your child could use some extra help reaching academic goals, Lindamood-Bell is here for you! Our evidence-based instruction improves reading, comprehension, and math skills. Get started at the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
Lindamood-Bell Academy is personalized one-to-one education. We help students learn to their potential.
✔ Evidence-based programs
✔ Standards-based curriculum
✔ Available in-person and live-online
We welcome new students year-round—get started at the link in bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
#lindamoodbellacademy #privateschool #personalizedlearning #dyslexia #dyslexic  #covidslide #learningrecovery #lindamoodbell
Request Information
Loading ...

Request Information

When you complete our form, we'll send you to our digital information packet and reach out to you shortly.
You may also call us at

Choose at least one option. *
* required

Schedule a Learning
Ability Evaluation

Please fill out the form and we will be in touch to schedule an evaluation.

* required
Chat with a Live Representative