Knowing the 50 US states is a challenge that most American children have to face. It’s a daunting but rewarding task, so the obvious thing to do is to find an easy way. There are many resources available:
- Rote learning of states
- Word association techniques for states
- Mnemonic states
- Census Bureau Region Fragmentation
- States song lyrics
- Status Videos
- Poems in verse for states
- State games
Which is the best?
We are all different, so some of us learn best by seeing and doing, and others by reading and repeating. It’s worth trying a few different methods to find what works for you.
Learn memory states
Simple repetition or rote learning is the old-fashioned hair-shirt method favored in the past by school teachers who believed that suffering was good for the soul. There is no doubt that it works and probably has a longer lasting effect than the most modern methods. However, will today’s children, spoiled for choice, accept that idea if there is an alternative?
United Word Technical Association
The state word association technique involves having a numeric list linked to an object using rhyme. For a long list like the 50 states, it is helpful to subdivide it into groups of ten more distinguished with the use of color as another memory aid. Here’s a good example.
A mnemonic is a word or phrase in which its individual letters are the initial letters of the words to be remembered. For example: the colors of the rainbow can be remembered with “Roy G. Biv”. The list of 50 states and capitals is a more daunting challenge. The author has devised a mnemonic to know the 50 States of America.
Fragmentation of regions from the State Census Bureau
Dividing American states into Census Bureau regions: Northeast, Midwest, South, and West, and learning by fragmentation is probably less stressful. Progress can be seen as each region is mastered. An excellent example with mnemonics can be found at the link below.
States song lyrics
Song lyrics are a good way to go, in addition to the other methods. The memory is backed by the melody and it is a lot of fun. It also helps to teach correct pronunciation.
50 states videos
There are several videos that combine images and sounds. In the Animainiacs video you see the contour map of the states and as the Wakko song progresses with each name, you see the state full of color to identify it. There have been several videos on this topic and many of them are worth watching.
You can find a list of individual state limericks with the state and capital here. These provide humor and are well written in standard limerick format. This gives a good song quality to aid retention.
Learning States Games
- Grab the USA This combines various games to teach and reinforce states and capitals. Includes a puzzle and an explanation of the time zone.
- Flix animationsAnimated States and Capitals game is a long-standing, award-winning game for teaching states and capitals with a clickable full screen US map. It teaches names and locations of states and capitals in various colorful ways. Flix Productions
You have many options to choose from, but whatever you choose involves a certain amount of hard work. However, it is worth it because knowing all 50 states and capitals is beneficial for most people and not just Americans.
My vote for the best way to know the 50 states of America is based on the regional fragmentation method.
Promising yourself or your child a reward for learning the 50 states and capitals is a good reinforcement for study. Why not consider that proud symbol of America: a new felt cowboy hat?