Presidential Competitions – How to Memorize All 44 US Presidents in Order

At some point in your child’s educational career, he will have to memorize the United States Presidents from Washington to Obama. Given that some were lame ducks, others have confusingly similar names, and that there are so many of them, this task is always incredibly difficult for students. Thankfully there are some mnemonic devices that your child can use to remember each of the President’s names.

Poems and other statements to help with the first letters are very helpful. An example using the beginning of the presidential list:

While all jugglers may make jokes, very happy tightropers pray to fly. (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe. John Quincy Adams, Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison, Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Fillmore.)

A common way to take on the memorization is in clusters, whether by sentence or by grouping presidents with completely different mnemonic devices. (Founding fathers, growth leaders, pre-civil war, etc.) Something that works for many is to replace the name with a funny or common word, something that will trigger your memory of Franklin Pierce in a context other than “pre-Civil War lame duck president.”

Or remember them for what they did, which is easy in the 20th century: Hoover Caused the Great Depression, FDR got us out of it. But he got us into WWII, which Truman got us out of. Because Eisenhower was so great in WWII, he got the next seat. Then was JFK, who starts our second train of thought. JFK was assassinated, LBJ took over and sent us to Vietnam. Nixon got us out of Vietnam, then Ford took over when he was impeached (both American products). The third product came in the form of Carter, the peanut farmer, and Americans were so confused by the “everyman” president that they put a famous actor in, Mr. Reagan. Then there was a Bush sandwich with Clinton playing the part of the grilled big cheese, which brings us to now, President Obama. Telling it like a story is much easier than rote memorization.

If all else fails, use a song. Music is known to help students remember difficult lists of information. The Animaniacs had a popular one, and there are many newer versions available for teachers and parents to aide children in their memorization.