12Rhythm and Timing May be a Factor in Reading, Attention, and Learning Problems

Every week I take a Whole Body Workout class at the gym.  I think it should be called Whole Body – Whole Brain Workout because it not only takes muscle power, but brainpower to coordinate all the simultaneous movements:

Arms opening and closing, twisting hand weights towards the center and then out to the side while sitting and tightening the abs and alternately flexing and pointing the feet.  Yikes!

What I’ve noticed is that if I’m on the beat, everything seems to flow and work, but if I can’t quite coordinate the rhythm, it all falls apart.  I feel confused and lost, and a little overwhelmed.  I try to get the feet going right but then lose track of what the arms were supposed to be doing.  I start looking at the clock wondering how much longer the class is.  I may stop and give up on that part or realize that the instructor has gone on to something else and now I’m behind.

Sound familiar?  Struggling students experience these feelings everyday.

Timing is at the most basic foundation of nearly everything we do.  When timing is intrinsic and automatic, everything flows and functions better.123 Anything that requires coordination requires a sense of timing and rhythm; in other words, just about everything

  • Getting out of bed in the morning
  • Eating
  • Brushing teeth
  • Walking, running, playing, and sports
  • Speaking with intonation and expression
  • Turn-taking and dialogue
  • Handwriting
  • Listening
  • Processing speech sounds for phonetic decoding and reading
  • “Seeing” letters words and sentences properly on the page
  • Reading fluency
  • Understanding what you hear and read
  • “Getting” and responding to information quickly enough
  • Retrieving the words you want to say and putting them together quickly enough
  • Organizing
  • Planning and scheduling
  • Regulating our breath, attention, and behavior

The list goes on and on.

In our work with students with learning and attention challenges, we are finding that improving timing and rhythm

  • Improves attention, coordination, and overall mental alertness for learning
  • Reduces anxiety and improves behavior
  • Increases speech, language and verbal flow and expression

Feeling “in sync” feels good.  One of the reasons teens traditionally gravitate towards music with a strong beat is because there is so much going on in a teenage brain and body that a strong beat is calming to their system.

Do you have a child or teen who seems out of sync or who struggles in school?  We can help.

Most learning and attention challenges can be dramatically improved or completely corrected by developing the needed underlying skills.

JOIN US for a FREE Information Night. RSVP here: Parent Information Night RSVP

If you’re feeling alone as a parent trying to help your struggling student, we have a FREE parent support group (P.E.A.C.E.) that’s just for you. Find more information here: PEACE Meeting





“Helping smart but struggling students dramatically improve or completely correct their learning and attention challenges by developing the underlying learning skills that are not supporting the learner well enough.”

We serve children and adults with diagnosed or undiagnosed learning and attention challenges including learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, auditory processing disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.

Jill Stowell, M.S.

Author:  At Wit’s End A Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle, Tears, and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities

Founder and Executive Director – Stowell Learning Centers

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