Activities to Enhance Visual Memory and Visualization

By Betty Maxwell


  1. Card games like “Concentration” where position of duplicate cards must be remembered.  Math fact cards or other material to be memorized can be substituted for playing cards or picture cards.
  2. Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) visualizing techniques may be used to learn the spelling of words (see “A Visualization Approach to Spelling” on Visual-Spatial Resource site).
  3. Listening to descriptive passages read aloud and then drawing as completely as possible what was in the mind’s eye during the reading. The passage should then be reread and points awarded for each detail included. The object is to better one’s own ability. This is a great classroom activity, which, if done on an ongoing basis, really builds the ability to visualize while reading. Descriptive passages also can be put on tape for individual practice. Little House on the Prairie books are among many with such descriptive passages.
  4. With closed eyes, watch a pen or piece of chalk write your name. Can you hold your entire name before your eyes? What else can you write this way?
  5. Place objects on a tray and allow the individual or group playing the game 10 or 15 seconds to view the objects. Then the tray is removed and points are given for every object that can be remembered. This can be made more complex by adding more objects, by asking where each object was, or by asking for more detailed descriptions of each object.
  6. As children read, they should be encouraged to form pictures in their mind’s eye (their own T.V. screen). At intervals, reading can be halted and the reader (and also listeners) asked to answer such questions as:
What does_______________look like?
What is on either side of _________________?
What is behind and above________________?
Describe exactly what you are seeing now?


Many exercises of this sort are given, in order of difficulty, in Visualizing and Verbalizing (2nd ed.) by Nanci Bell (Avila Beach, CA: Gander).