A group of 10 children with spina bifida and shunted hydrocephalus, aged between 7 1/2 and nine years, was tested for memory of two types of verbal material and two types of pictorial material. Their performance was compared with a group of children with matched IQ and with a group of average IQ, all matched for age and sex. The parameters investigated were learning ability; immediate and delayed recall, and also long-term recall/recognition; and reacquisition of material learned after a period of 24 hours. The hydrocephalic children and the matched IQ group were significantly poorer than the average IQ group on all tasks except for 'Memory for a Short Story' Comparisons between the hydrocephalic and matched IQ groups showed that the former group was significantly poorer only in a 'Memory for Words' test. It is suggested that this discrepancy in the performance of hydrocephalic children in learning unrelated, as opposed to connected, meaningful verbal material may reflect a deficit in their ability to use appropriate semantic strategies at the level of encoding.