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Working Memory

author:Learning Works

What is Working Memory?

Working Memory is the thinking skill that focuses on memory-in-action: the ability to remember and use relevant information while in the middle of an activity. For example, a child is using their Working Memory as they recall the steps of a recipe while cooking a favorite meal. Children who have trouble with their Working Memory skills will often have difficulty remembering their teachers’ instructions, recalling the rules to a game, or completing other tasks that involve actively calling up important information. Video games can help improve Working Memory by allowing kids to practice their memory skills while in the midst of a fun and immersive gaming experience. Many games require that the player learn and repeatedly recall information in order to succeed and advance to higher levels.

How does Working Memory work?

Working Memory is a crucial skill that affects every area of a child’s life. This skill allows a child to recall and utilize information while performing an activity. It is vital to activities like taking notes, following multi-step directions, and completing complex mathematical calculations. Working Memory also plays an important role in reading comprehension.

Kids with good Working Memory skills:

  • Can remember and follow complicated directions.
  • Have the ability to use what they have learned in a previous experience in a new situation.
  • Maintain their level of engagement while performing tasks, even when shifting activities within a given task.
  • Reorganize their thoughts or materials in a fashion that encourages further learning.
  • Are able to sustain their attention throughout tasks.

Kids with underdeveloped Working Memory skills:

  • Remember only the first or last things in a series of directions.
  • Have difficulty with tasks that entail more than one step.
  • Forget what they are doing in the middle of doing it.
  • Can be absent-minded and often need help from adults to remember directions.
  • Have difficulty retelling a story in their own words.
  • Are confused when attempting to complete multi-step math problems.

    August 2014 2012