Oral Practice Strategy: 5-Finger Drill

by , under Strategies

Repeating a word or phrase aloud will help you remember it. 

Saying a vocabulary item aloud increases your ability to remember it by 10% (MacLeod, et al., 2010). Even mouthing the word improves your ability to remember it. 

5-finger drill

To really make a word or phrase stick in your memory, use the five-finger drill. Say the word aloud five times, counting on your fingers. When it comes time to write, you will remember the item more easily, freeing cognitive resources for other aspects of your writing–like checking your writing for errors.

Repeat numbers, words, phrases, and sentences aloud 5 times to help you remember them. It may seem strange at first and you may worry that people will think you odd, but they will get used to it and admire you for your strategic approach to learning. 

More importantly, you will begin noticing how easy it is to remember the items you rehearsed in this way. Try it today. it works!


MacLeod, C. M., Gopie, N., Hourihan, K. L., Neary, K. R., & Ozubko, J. D. (2010). The production effect: Delineation of a phenomenon. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 36(3), 671-685.