What is Working Memory?

A simple and clear definition of working memory from learningworksforkids.com: 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.

An example of working memory is when your mom is teaching you how to make her world-famous dish and you are following each step, making sense of what she is teaching you—so that you can hold on to each step long enough to store it in short-term memory and make the dish come out tasting just like your mom’s.

Areas Affected by Working Memory

Remembering Instructions

Whether it’s at home or in the classroom, it’s critical for your child to have a grasp on the information that you’re relaying to them. Working memory issues are similar to when a child has difficulty with executive function-dependent tasks, meaning that they have trouble following multi-step instructions.

Paying Attention

Whether it’s planning, organizing, or finding a solution to a problem, there are a number of items affected when a child has trouble with their working memory. Executive functioning issues can manifest themselves in every step of the problem-solving process—it’s not just about identifying the answer to a problem, it’s about paying attention to all the steps required to get to the answer in the first place.


Auditory working memory helps children recognize what letters and words sound like, while visual working memory helps them remember what they look like. When functioning properly, this helps a child sound out words effectively, removing hesitation when reading.


Acquiring proficient math skills is all about building a solid base. You can’t learn complex geometry without having learned simple addition. Being able to store information effectively can have an enormous effect on how well your child learns new math skills. Sequencing, visualizing information, and deciphering patterns are all critical components of developing math and problem-solving skills.

How Can I Help My Child?

If your child is experiencing difficulties with following instructions and memorization in various subjects in school, St. Louis LDA is here to help. Our experts specialize in helping children who struggle with a broad range of learning disabilities get the support that they need so that they can move forward confidently at home, in the classroom, and in social situations. We have a number of techniques and methods we utilize when working with children that have difficulty with their working memory, and we’re confident that we can broaden the scope of what your child can achieve. For quality support that yields positive results in all areas of your child’s development process, reach out to our team today at (314) 966-3088 or info@ldastl.org.