First Letter Strategies
First letter strategies are a type of mnemonic in which the first letters in words help students recall information. These strategies can be especially beneficial when students need to recall lists of information (e.g., the names of the Great Lakes in social studies, classes of vertebrae in science, order of operations in math). Two common types are:
Acronym: A word whose individual letters represent the first letter of each word in a list of items or steps.
HOMES is an acronym often used in social studies class to help students remember the five Great Lakes.
Another acronym, sometimes used in English class to help students recall the steps of a strategy used to edit and revise papers, is COPS.
Acrostic: A sentence or phrase in which the first letter of each word represents the first letters of the information to be learned. Below are a couple of common acrostics.
Music: Notes on the line of a treble clef (i.e., E, G, B, D, F)
Every Good Boy Does Fine.
Math: The order of operations (parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction)
Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.