Skip to main content


Learning new information


After receiving radiation therapy, it may take more effort to learn new information. There are four stages of learning new information.

What are the four stages of learning?

Attention: Concentrating on the information you would like to learn.

Encoding: Placing the information in short-term memory by organizing it and making connections between familiar and unfamiliar information in the brain.

Consolidation: When the items learned are put in long-term memory and they are not affected by other information even after a period of time.

Retrieval: Being able to recognize the information, as needed, by recalling what is already in the brain.

What can my child do to make learning easier?

Improving attention

  • Remove distractions and extra background noise.
  • Take regular breaks to maintain attention.
  • Sit at the front of the classroom and near the teacher.
  • Listen for the main idea and who, what, when, where, why, and how.
  • Use aids and strategies, including checklists, calendars, smartphones, clocks, and timers.

Improving encoding

  • Use first letter cues by paying attention to the first letter of key words and then form a word with the letters to help recall the information later. (Example: Never Eat Soggy Waffles for North, South, East, and West)
  • Organize long lists of information by categories (such as making a grocery list with these sections: Fruits, Meats, Dairy, etc).
  • Make up a story or rhyme and link information in a meaningful way.
  • Study information in small amounts to decrease overload and confusion.
  • Use “chunking” technique to practice putting information into smaller groups to aid with recall (such as remembering 10-digit phone numbers by chunking numbers into three groups, like 555-555-3478).

Improving consolidation

  • Rehearsal: Repeat things silently or out loud.
  • Make notes or flashcards with important words and concepts, and place them in places where they will be seen often.
  • Use "color coding" with highlighter pens when studying new information.
  • Repeat the information in their own words.

Improving retrieval

  • When reviewing with your child provide them with first letter cues “It starts with…”
  • When reviewing with your child, provide them with sound association cues, “It sounds like…”
  • When reviewing with your child, provide them with descriptive cues, “It looks like…”


If you have questions about your child’s learning, call Rehabilitation Services at 901-595-3621. If you are inside the hospital, dial 3621. If you are outside the Memphis area, call toll-free 1-866-2ST-JUDE (1-866-278-5833), extension 3621.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).