I once had a client whose mom told me the following story: Her daughter was walking out the door, and she said "It's Cold outside", to which her daughter said "OK Mom" before continuing to walk out the door. The daughter thought the mom was informing her of the weather, when actually the mom meant that she should put on a sweater! This is common with a concrete thinker - one who has not yet developed deductive reasoning or good logic skills.
Academically you see this child having troubles with translating word problems into the appropriate math equations. They may also have troubles with reading comprehension. If the comprehension question mirrors the language in the text, the child may be able to find the appropriate text and fill in the blank. But understanding the text and being able to manipulate language surrounding it is difficult. Once metaphors and similes are added into text, such as in 4th grade novels, the child is completely lost.
The good news is that this skill can be improved! However, for the cognitive skill of logic and reasoning to be most efficiently and effectively remediated, there are some necessary steps.
First of all, we need to go back to the first year of life where this particular cognitive skill should have been developed. It is not as though suddenly this child could no longer understand deductively. Instead, this connection in the brain was never created. So the first step is to create it. Through working with clients over the last 12 years, I've found that giving simple exercises to work through a very early stage of development, the moro reflex, that children start to get there. This is called "integrating" the reflex. The exercises are short and simple, take about 10 minutes a day, and need to be done every day for about a month in order to stick.
The next step is to play games that help with logic and reasoning. My favorite beginning card game is Blink
. Another wonderful card game, which is a little more difficult, is Set
. There is a challenging on-line version, but you can modify the card game for beginners.
Beyond simple card games is more direct teaching. I have very successfully used the logic workbooks from www.mindware.com. Any and all are good - each workbook is progressively more difficult. Start with workbooks that are well below grade level and work your way up. I especially love their Logic Links workbook or box.
When working with a child to improve these skills using the card games or the workbooks,
you must do them every day for at least 30 days, and work at a challenging level.
If it is too easy, you are not creating new connections. If it is too hard, frustration builds up and the child gives up. Always stop before the tears start!
Finally, there are programs that have been created that have the full directions given to you so you don't have to figure out how to correctly create your own interventions: BrainSpark!, The Academic Success Center Workbook, and BrainWare Safari. I have used them all and recommend them highly. The best part about using these - many other skills are strengthened too: processing speed, all kinds of memory, reading skills and attention.
If you get started now, you will probably see some improvement before school even starts. Have fun!