You might not have heard about sequencing skills, but they are vital if your child is going to properly develop their reading skills. Essentially, sequencing skills are what we need to understand how the events that happened in the past arrange themselves into a logical story. It’s the kind of skill you don’t even think about when you’re an adult, but it’s something with which younger children often struggle.
Follow these steps to help improve your child’s sequencing skills.
Start with the Beginning and the End
Before you work on what happens in the middle of a set of events, you should focus on what comes first and what comes last. Children will generally remember the first and last things that happened in a story. Focusing on that knowledge makes building sequences more straightforward. When you’ve finished reading a story, ask what happened first and what happened last.
Add a Simple Middle Step
Most stories will have multiple middle steps. Even a simple story about, for example, how a dog spent its day, will probably include multiple events between waking up in the morning and going to bed at night. Our pooch protagonist may eat breakfast, investigate scents, go for a walk, play frisbee, and then end up on the sofa. Instead of focusing on every event, pick just one. Ask your child when that event happened – they should be able to locate it in the middle of the story.
Increase the Number of Steps
Once your child is confident with the beginning, middle, and end, you can start building up to longer sequences. Start adding in more scenes from each story, progressing slowly until they can order 5 or 6 events without struggling.
Use Real World Examples
Stories are often set in a strict linear fashion, but real life isn’t always as finely structured. As well as working with stories, start asking your children about what they did that day. At first, they may find it tougher to arrange the events in their logical sequence, so use the same steps detailed above to help get them through.