The ability to sequence ideas is an important skill which is used in both spoken and written tasks. We use sequencing skills to give news, describe an event and tell stories.
- Use the terms first, next, and then, last so that the child becomes familiar with these concepts
- Model the use of first, next, and then, last in practical situations and throughout the daily routine e.g. “you’re last in the line” “first tidy up, then stand by the door”
- Once the child is confident at understanding/using the concepts in practical situations move on to using pictures to sequence a story/event
Everyday activities choose some everyday sequencing activities and encourage the child to carry them out e.g.:
- Making a cup of juice
- Making a sandwich
- Drawing a person
- Play sequences - making a railway track, making pretend meals in the home corner
- Dressing for P.E
- Any activity where a sequence of actions is required
Comment on what the child is doing as they are carrying out the activity. Give the child a turn at talking about what they are doing.
Silly me! Carry out an activity but pretend that you have forgotten how to do it or do silly things e.g. leave the juice bottle on while making a drink, carry out the activity in the wrong order. Give the child an opportunity to tell you how to do the activity/what you did wrong. Model the use of first, next, and then, last.
Once the child understands the concepts first, next, and then, last in practical situations move onto using pictures. Use 2 or 3 pictures/photographs initially and gradually build this up.
Start by using simple everyday picture sequences and then move onto activities which are less common. Talk about each picture in a random order and place the pictures in a vertical line on the table.
Ask the child to decide which picture comes first, and move the picture to start a new horizontal line. Encourage the child to choose the next picture in the sequence, and so on.
Once all the pictures are in the correct order, the child tells the story.
Repeat the story back to the child using a good model of sentence structure and linking words.
Start by using familiar repetitive stories or fairy tales e.g. Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Red Riding Hood, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Gruffalo, Dear Zoo, The Tiger Who Came for Tea
Initially use a book as a prompt – you can tell the story, or a simplified version if this helps, and then the child re-tells you.
Talk about the story in terms of who, what, where, when and encourage the child to think about what might happen next.
Act out plays of the story, using toys or puppets. Encourage the child to make up their own short stories with toys and characters.
Start by using events that have happened with you, so that you know what happened. Encourage the child to re-tell the event to you or to someone else, give support if needed.
Encourage the child to tell you about an event e.g. something they did at the weekend. In school, this is sometimes done in group activities where the children share their news with each other.
Schools can provide opportunities for the child to give a sequence of instructions to other children e.g. during P.E.
This is a video created by Barnsley Speech & Language Therapy Service, at the South West Partnership NHS Foundation Trust about how to support sequencing.