Strategy #6: Creating acronyms and initialisms

Acronyms and initialisms are formed by using the first letter from a series of words. In some cases they are pronounced as a word, in others the letters are pronounced individually. Some examples include: NCAA for National Collegiate Athletic Association, CNN for Cable News Network, and NATO for North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Encourage students to use these to help them remember material from your class.

Here is a strategy with examples to share with your students:

Create your own acronyms to help you remember concepts or processes from your reading. For example, let's look at a simple process of the water cycle. The four general stages are: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection. If expected to remember the four stages in their order, you would concentrate on repeating: ECPC. What's nice about this one is that it rhymes!
When you take the test, you could write:


and then fill in the rest of the words.

If the order doesn't matter, make up a word that will help you remember. Nancy Wood's first-year composition textbook, Perspectives on Argument, did this with logical appeals: SICDADS--accompanied by an image of two ill fathers. Because SICDADS is a nonsense word, the visual helps reinforce the memory.

SICDADS equals logical proof