Memories and Stories

Memories and Stories

Over the course of the holiday season, many people gather with family and friends to celebrate, share meals, and exchange stories. Did you know that sharing any kind of information through a story has positive effects on a person’s ability to remember and recall that information?


It turns out that there is neuroscience research to back up the power of narratives on memory(link opens in new tab/window)↗. It’s no wonder even young children are so drawn to bedtime stories and hearing books read aloud. Our brains are wired to identify patterns and structure in the information we receive. It also helps that listening to stories is a pleasant and positive experience that the brain seeks to return to time and time again.

Impact on Students

Narratives also have the power to shape students’ neural networks. Researchers and educators are investigating how patterns of thinking and feeling can influence the growth of students’ brain networks (link opens in new tab/window)↗. Analyzing students’ narratives reveals their dispositions of mind and how they make meaning of the world around them.

To learn more about memory strategies, check out SMARTS Unit 6: Accessing Working Memory. For ways to implement this across various subjects, explore this Edutopia article on the topic(link opens in new tab/window)↗.

Here and Now

This holiday season, enjoy exchanging stories knowing they are a powerful tool for making connections and remembering.

  • Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum:

Research Institute for Learning and Development: