Simple sequencing for amazing learning

There are lots of big words that can be used when trying to explain the brain and how it works but most are pretty unnecessary.


If we are very observant it is interesting to see what is revealed.


Try these simple exercises with your kids (7 years and older) and observe what happens. You  may be surprised at how well they do, but I know many parents will be shocked at how their child struggles.


Exercise 1

Count in 2’s  from 20  (even numbers)

i.e.  20,  22  24  26  28  30  32  34….. and so on to 100


Exercise 2

Count in 2’s from 21 (odd numbers)

i.e.  21  23  25  27  29  31  33….and so on to 99


Well, what did you observe?


Perhaps it was a breeze for your child, but maybe it wasn’t.


Try it a few more times and see if things improve. Show your child how you do it. Try to create a rhythm. Write down some helper numbers on a piece of paper, like    2  4  6  8  0. Be creative!


Now let’s interpret what you have just seen.


You may be one of the lucky ones for whom it went well. If so, then you are probably also blessed with a child who is in the top third of their class at school. If not, then it is highly unlikely that they will be doing well at school.


The explanation for this lies in what is involved in this task and it has virtually nothing to do with maths or schoolwork. It has everything to do with the front part of our brain that controls sequences, patterns and learning routines.


Sequences, patterns and routines enable humans to have a framework with which to base all of their learning from. Once the framework is in place, then it is possible to contrast and compare, see differences and then make decisions regarding the differences. Through this, we have created ‘thought  and ‘intelligent thinking’, something no other animal can do.


The brain seeks patterns. Patterns are the ultimate key to learning. Everything about our learning and our brain’s architecture revolves around recognizing a pattern and then refining it. Internally, the brain will grow a new dendrite right next to another if it is very similar. This is not a random process, but a highly organized one.


Our organized brains are what allow an acrobat, a ballerina, a painter, or a pianist to excel in their endeavour.


Similarly, learning at school is just learning new routines and sequences.


The curriculum may focus on handwriting, addition, sums, sight words, phonics, music or reading, but behind every one of these activities is the ability to learn, see and develop a new sequence.


Now this is where it gets interesting…

The time allowed in the classroom for developing a new sequence is about four repetitions. What I mean is, if the teacher is demonstrating how to do a long division, they tend to demonstrate it about 4 times. If your child needs 6, 10 or 15 repetitions to learn something, then they are not going to have learnt that sequence during the lesson.


Even if the teacher repeats the lesson the next day, rather than building memory like is occurring in the top third of the class, for your child, they are beginning from zero again. They will  also leave this second lesson without having made any progress.


Solving this problem is usually quite easy and you can help your child get faster at learning routines. Simply focus on learning a new routine every day. It will not matter what the routine is, but that they simply become able to learn ever longer and more complicated routines faster and faster.


Of course that is what happens at school everyday. It is called learning and doing homework, but if your child is outside the ‘4 repetitions’ to learn, then they will not be learning the sequences that the teacher is demonstrating and consequently start to fall behind.


Change is possible!


For further information contact Tyquin Speech and Reading clinic on 33998028  or access free literacy resources on