The Learning disAbilities Newsletter
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New at

  The following is the latest addition to The Mnemonic Clue of the Week that is posted on our website each Sunday.  This resource is in response to many requests from teachers around the country for a list of the mnemonic clues I use with the students I teach.  As I explained in many training sessions, I do not have a list but create them with the students as needed.  This is the 29th mnemonic clue; the other 28 are archived on the website.  Each mnemonic clue contains two parts: the problem and the clue.  As you will see below the problem details why some individuals have difficulty learning specific information.  The mnemonic clue provides a way to help the individuals who exhibit those problems to learn and remember the information.  These memory clues focus primarily on reading, spelling and math but will occasionally include other subject areas.  Individuals can request to have the Mnemonic Clue of the Week emailed to them directly each week.
Mnemonic Clue of the Week 29
      ¨     The Problem

             At a training I conducted at Reading Area Community College last week, an adult education teacher asked if I had a mnemonic clue for the reading of the words come and came.  She said that she has one student who just can’t remember which one is which.  The problem with the reading of these two words is similar to the confusion between horse for house (mnemonic clue 25).  The teacher stated that the Mnemonic Clue 19 for the reading and the spelling of because, become and became did not help her student with the reading of come, came, become and became.  The adult student who confuses come and came when reading has been confusing those words for years, since he began to learn to read in elementary school.  He has both words stored in his memory and the right/left discrimination problem makes it difficult for him to remember whether the word he is reading is come or came.  Teaching this person to hear the sounds of the vowels does not work because the right/left confusion makes it difficult for the person to remember which vowel makes which sound.  The student usually understands the vowel sound when it is pointed out or when someone pronounces the sound and explains it, but on his own the person finds himself back to the quandary which letter makes which sound, which word is come and which word is came.  

¨    The Mnemonic Clue

             The mnemonic clue for come and came is related to the structure of language, another subject that is greatly affected by the right/left confusion.  These two words represent the present and past tense, a concept that most individuals have no difficulty understanding but struggle to identify when reading.  The person can speak about events that are happening now and events that happened in the past.  However, when it comes to matching which word goes with which tense, the person often guesses, sometimes getting it right, sometimes getting it wrong. 

 By associating the word now and the o in now with the present, the person can remember the statement, “I said to come here, now   The o in now is linked to the o in come.  For most students, weighting the pair this way will remediate the guessing. 

  Since learning a clue for both words often results in confusion, only teach the clue for came if the student needs help with the concept of tense.  The statement “He came in the past,” can be added, linking the a in past to the a in came.    


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Lasted Updated 07/15/2004