I’ve never required kids to do a lot of memorizing, but since we tutors must help with whatever the student needs to learn, I have been (enjoyably) forced to come up with mnemonic strategies. A couple of years ago, a 4th-grade student’s mom was trying to get him into a very exclusive school. One of the requirements, for whatever reason, was that he know the 23 helping verbs by heart. Hmmm. . . I thought it was kind of stupid, but he had to learn them within a week or so (along with a lot of other things), so here’s what I came up with. I’ve actually come around to thinking that memorizing these is not a bad idea. Since kids get very hung up on verbs being ACTIONS, helping verbs can be hard to recognize. The first page shows all 23 helping verbs in 6 sections, each of which is easy to say aloud and somewhat connected by spelling or sound. The next 2 pages are the same sheet with blanks to fill in (different blanks on each page). The last is same format, but completely blank, requiring the student to remember them all. I recommend having them repeat the exercise on plain paper now and then to make sure the knowledge sticks.
Susan, Morris Tutoring Productions