Within-session spacing improves delayed recall in children

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Taylor & Francis


Multiple retrievals of a memory over a spaced manner improve long-term memory performance in infants, children, younger and older adults; however, few studies have examined spacing effects with young school-age children. To expand the understanding of the spacing benefit in children, the current study presented weakly associated English word-pairs to children aged 7-11 and cued their recall two times immediately (massed), after a delay of 5 or 10 items (spaced) or not at all (control). After this encoding session with or without two retrievals, participants were tested two times for memory of all word-pairs: immediately and 30 minutes after the encoding session. Multiple retrievals significantly improved memory on the tests. However, words repeated in a spaced design were remembered at higher rates than those that were massed, while gap size between repetitions (5 or 10) did not differentially impact performance. The data show that a within-session spacing strategy can benefit children's ability to remember word-pairs after 30 minutes. Thus, asking students to recall what they have learned within a lesson is a technique that can be used in a classroom to improve long-term recall.