Simple Activities to Accelerate Learning

Benefits of Brain Training Games

by Nora Chahbazi

In this blog I am sharing some non-academic cognitive processing activities, how to do them, and why and how they enhance learning. So many people have been requesting this information and I’m excited to share it.

These activities remove the brain ‘debris’; they improve connections in the brain which then helps information process more efficiently.

Sometimes learner’s academic progress is hindered by difficulty with cognitive processes such as attention, processing speed, impulse control, expressive or receptive language, memory, timing and rhythm, planning, fine and/or gross motor activities, sequencing, simultaneous processing and more.
They need to fine tune some of their brain processes. For example, if you were trying to send logs to a saw mill down a clogged river after a tornado, the logs would have difficulty getting through because there’d be too much debris in the way. These activities remove the brain ‘debris’; they improve connections in the brain which then helps information process more efficiently. Think of them as brain fertilizer!

These are simple but powerful ways to enhance learning for all ages. Click here for the steps so you understand the why and how of teaching these activities. Like with EBLI, there are nuances that make these activities exceptionally beneficial. Pay attention to the important scaffolding steps, error corrections, and focused, purposeful (and brief) talking that take place during instruction. AFTER reading the information as well as the rest of the blog, check out the video examples where I’m doing activities with some of our clients. Then forward this to parents, teachers, or friends who you think would appreciate having this to help their learners!

With new learning, the brain changes by making new connections between neurons in the brain and, with repetition, the new learning ‘sticks’ and becomes automatic. All EBLI activities are infused with cognitive processing components which help make the instruction very effective and efficient. We use these additional activities to speed up the learning for some of the students at our reading center. Most of these activities need to be taught to only one student at a time to really integrate the process and provide focused error correction.

When first exposed to these games, the learner may have significant difficulty at first. This is typical! We use a process called Mediated Learning when teaching in order to quickly move the learners to success.

To accelerate success when teaching something new, whether math, reading, fishing, tying shoes, or these games, break everything down to each specific step. SHOW them while you are telling them (or use motions instead of words), walk them through the process, and be sure THEY do the movements themselves. Learners must experience the process themselves, not just be told or shown how to do it, in order to get the most benefit from it.

The Mediated Learning steps are as follows:

I do: You show exactly what you want student to do.

We do: Give explicit, concise instructions with as few words as possible. Show what you mean at the same time that you are telling them.

You do: Coach the learner through the process by giving clear, short corrections when they make errors and have them do the process again.

This video describes mediated learning in more detail.

Watch the following videos all the way through so you can see the transformation from difficulty to success! Remember to use fewer words and show instead of tell as much as possible. Talking interferes with the learner’s thinking and processing.


The highlighted resources on this list of books and web sites focus on cognitive process training.

Do you have other great resources you recommend? If so please list them in the comments below and we will share them on our Facebook page.

Once you have taught someone, of any age or ability level, at least one of these activities please let us know how it went or what questions you have in the comment section below.

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2 thoughts on “

  1. I'm so excited to see these activities provided by you. I teach reading effectively but continue to find other cognitive or sensory challenges that inhibit children's broader advancement. I've looked into some resources for enhancing memory or processing speed, but I can't find a consistent research base and underlying theory to help me feel secure in the investment of clinical time.

    I found your list of book and online resources and will pursue the ones there that I didn't know about. Thank you!!

    Would you mind sharing what kinds of generalized changes you've seen that you think you can attribute to these activities?

    1. EBLI

      Post author

      Marnie, we notice that students improve memory, processing, sequencing, simultaneous processing, following directions, attention, focus, coordination, and decrease in anger and frustration.


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