Many of you have been reading my articles for some time and you know how much I emphasize teaching with the child in mind. But for those of you who aren’t familiar with my articles: Workbooks are fine for reinforcing what the student already knows, but they aren’t very effective at teaching new concepts. Forcing children to learn in inefficient ways is like trying to fit round pegs into square holes. You waste a lot of your time and theirs.

The most successful methods are those that listen to the child and adjust accordingly. Sequencing is one of the few elements of reading comprehension that I recommend teaching kindergarten students, and there are several fun and easy ways to do it. Studies show that young children learn best while playing. Using the game to teach is very simple and yet very effective. These are just some examples.

Begin by explaining to your child that sequencing means putting a story in the order that things happened. For example, you could say, “If I told you to put the milk in the fridge, would you walk to the fridge before picking up the milk?” Ask them, “why not?” “So sequencing means telling a story in the exact order that everything happened.”

I. Activity one (can also be done with preschoolers)

A. Take the child for a walk and point out important markers as you go (example: big tree, stop sign, greenhouse, ext.). Ask the child to help you find your way back by pointing to the markers in reverse order.

B. Once you return to your starting point, discuss with the child how important it is to notice the markers in the correct order to protect ourselves from getting lost.

C. Have them draw and color pictures of the land marks and place them in sequential order.

D. This may need to be repeated several times before the child develops the brain patterns to complete this task efficiently. However, “hands-on learners” (50% of the population) often surprise us with how quickly and accurately they master this activity.

II. Possible extra activity (note: for homeschooling families, this activity can be done in a cooperative setting.)

A. After completing an activity such as a field trip or baking a cake, instruct each child to draw and color pictures of different parts of that event. It is important to tell each child what she wants them to draw about, and be sure not to assign more than one child to draw that picture. Then ask each of them to come to the front of the room holding their drawing and telling what it is about. (You may have to remind the younger ones.) You’ll want to make sure the order isn’t in the correct sequence at this point. The reason becomes clear in the next step.

B. Now ask the children to place the pictures in sequential order. Discuss as the activity progresses. If they get it wrong, no problem… just recap the story in the wrong order. Ask them what is wrong with what we see here and how they would fix it. Example: “If we put the cake in the oven before adding the eggs, what would happen?” When he does any of these activities correctly, praise generously.

third Activity two (This is especially good because it also teaches general reading comprehension)

A. Have the child (or children, as the case may be) read you an early reading book. As you read each page, have the child operate one puppet and you the other as you recreate the story together.

B. You will have made copies of each page beforehand and marked all page numbers on those copies.

C. Next, ask the child to put the copies of the pages in their own order. If they get it wrong, no problem… just recap the story in the order the child presents and ask them what’s wrong with this story and how they should rearrange the pages. It’s fine at this point, but you don’t need to have everything in the same order as the book… just that it’s in a logical order.

D. Remind the child how important it was to remember the exact order in which the land marks occurred in order to find their way back (Activity I above). Be sure to praise all successes along with corrections. Teaching with the child in mind is fun and very easy.