Following Directions: How Do I Teach this Skill?

Posted by Erica Warren on

It's easy to forget how challenging it can be to learn the complexities of linguistic skills. Following oral directives, interpreting the needed steps to complete assignments, understanding multiple choice questions, and discerning a teacher's written instructions are just a few instances of how young learners need to know how to navigate the subtleties embedded within our language. For many children, learning to follow directions is a complex task that requires explicit instruction, and the mastery of this skill involves vocabulary development, mental flexibility, attention to details, listening skills, receptive language skills, verbal reasoning, and expressive language skills.
Following Directions Activities

What Happens When Kids Have Trouble Following Directions?

Improve listening skills
When kids have trouble following directions, they often encounter the annoyance and frustration of others. In fact, a true misunderstanding can even result in ridicule and punishments that can leave the child confused and dejected.

How Can We Teach This Needed Skill in a Positive Way?

The key is to be patient and to make the process fun and engaging. One can playing games like "Simon Says," or creating a scavenger hunt can help to teach this needed skill, but finding the time to do this can be difficult. 

What Ready-Made Activities are available?

Listening Skills ActivitiesIf you like games, let me suggest the game Memory Master.  If, however, you prefer digital workbooks that can be printed or used on a computer or iPad (using apps like Zoom or taking a snapshot of the picture and then drawing on the image), I am offering free samples of my Following Directions: The Fun and Easy Way publications. Just click here to learn more about this publication - Following Directions Information.
    Clearly, learning to follow directions and improve listening skills is a vital step to being a successful student.
    bring delight to learning
    Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren

    Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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