How To Use The Number Rhyme System To Remember Important Numbers



The Number Rhyme System is an age old method in which you associate each number you are trying to remember with a predetermined item that rhymes with the number. Along with improving your memory, it’s a great way to exercise your mind.

Instead of trying to remember arbitrary digits, you’ll remember the story and image you constructed that corresponds with the number you want to recall. The Number Rhyme System is a great tool for remembering number sequences such as flight numbers, hotel room numbers, appointment times, item counts, and just about any other number you come across.

Here’s how you start:

Choose a rhyming word for the numbers 0 through 10. The common representations, which work well, are listed below.

Improve Your Memory

You can use your own rhyming words if you don’t like the ones above. Just go through the numbers and see what rhyming word comes to mind first.

Now, when you want to remember a number, create a story with the rhyming words, instead of trying to remember numbers in a sequence that don’t hold any significance in your mind.

Let’s try something easy to begin with:

Your sister’s birthday is the 29th. Imagine her taking her shoe (2) off and pouring a bottle of wine (9) into it.

If your ATM card pin number is 4721, but you can’t seem to remember it, try linking together the images of a door (4), heaven (7), shoe (2), and gun (1) to make it stick.

Picture a huge wooden door opening up to you. On the other side of the door is Heaven with shining lights and angels. You notice one of the angels is wearing a bright red high-top shoe. She kicks it off of her foot and, as it flies through the air, she squirts it with a water gun.

Those are just a couple of examples. The best thing to do is make up your own story and make it as vivid as possible. Be sure to include actions because your mind remembers them better. Most important – review your story. I like to go over it a few times the first day, and then once a day for about a week. After that, I make sure to review it a few times a month until it really sticks.

This method works for house numbers, too. For instance, if the house number is 5869, link together hive (5), skate (8), sticks (6) and wine (9). Picture a large yellow bee hive. Out fly thousands of bees which are all wearing skates. They land on the ground and start skating only to find themselves tripping and falling over sticks that have been left in their path. They become so frustrated that they call it a day and have a glass of red wine.

Practice the Number Rhyme System with a few of your own important numbers, and let me know how it goes.

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photo ©istockphoto/MudGuy

Erin Matlock About the author, Erin Matlock
Erin Matlock is and advocate, speaker and advisor working in the brain health and mental health markets. Catch up with her at

5 Comments On This Post

  1. Hi Yolanda!

    Thanks for the comment. The Number Rhyme System is actually not one of my favorites. I much prefer the Major Memory System which uses a set of “peg words.” I haven’t covered it here on the blog as it has a pretty steep learning curve, but once mastered it really is one of the most powerful tools I know of.

    I have to laugh at your PigPen story. (I feel for you!) I use a number of different techniques to remember names, and I worry that I will one day find myself slipping as you did at the party. I say you should have received a free pass that night for at least making the effort to remember the name!

  2. Your “Number Rhyme System” sounds very convoluted to me. I have trouble remembering people’s names. A friend gave me a book using approximately the same system as Number Rhyme, where you pair a person’s name with a picture….
    Well at a government party, I was introduced to a person whose name was “Hogben”. I thought, WOW, this is an easy one; and paired it with “Pigpen”. When I had to introduce him to another group, I did so. HOWEVER, by the looks on the group’s faces I realized I had introduced him as “PIGPEN” (This was a group of Muslims – Strange, but I was never re-invited to any of their “DO’s)

  3. […] week I introduced the Number Rhyme System and showed you how to use rhyming images to replace numbers so you could better remember things […]

  4. Hey Charles,

    Yeah they do! I discovered mnemonics in grade school, and it is just amazing how powerful some of the advanced memory techniques are.

  5. Had a psyche class in college that taught us something similar. Those techniques do work.

    Charles´s last blog post..Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Tax Credits


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