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Have Student Repeat Directions Back

Have Student Repeat Directions Back

Why should I do it:

  • Some students get overwhelmed by too much information on a page
  • Students who are dealing with ADD/ADHD tend to have difficulties with understanding, breaking up, and digesting directions
  • Helps focus students on specific parts and tasks
  • Increases understanding, comprehension, and follow through
  • Ensures that students understand the words and concepts
  • Gives a very good indication as to whether the student understands what to do, where to start, what direction to go in, etc

When should I do it:

  • Having students repeat directions back should always be done with students and classes on a regular basis
  • When a student has a learning or other disability that affects their comprehension, retention, word understanding, etc
  • When a student shows signs of being overwhelmed
  • When you are aware of an ADHD/ADD diagnosis either by school or outside school
  • When student is reluctant to start work
  • When a student completes work incorrectly frequently
  • When a student frequently does assignments incorrectly
  • When students are not paying attention
  • When students are goofing around or are distracted

How do I do it:

  • Read the directions to the student or class
  • For extensive and multi-part directions, re-read the directions to the student one part, section, or task at a time
  • Simplify your language
  • Be very concise and clear
  • After explaining one part or re-reading one section of the directions, show the student and point to what you are talking about on the page
  • Have the student repeat and explain each part of the directions back to you and then all the directions after they have all been gone over
  • Encourage the student to repeat the directions in their own words
  • After explaining the directions and having the student(s) repeat them back, do one or several problems or items with the student(s)
  • Allow a break after student completes a portion of the work

Resources & Support for technique:
(Items with footnotes link to external websites)


  1. Teach 2 Write, A Guide for Teaching Writing, Office of Instructional Development, UCLA. Break Down The Assignment Into Steps. [].
  2. Teaching a Child With ADHD. [].
  3. Block, J. and Smith, M. ADD / ADHD and School: Helping Children with ADHD Succeed at School. [].