EF Strategy — Working Memory

by Laurie Moore Skillings, SCAC


Working Memory is the ability to hold information in mind while performing complex tasks.  It incorporates the ability to draw on past learning her experience to apply to the situation at hand or to project into the future.

Working Memory is one of the first executive functions skills to emerge during infancy,

Illustration by Sarah Riazati & Mike Bamford

usually around 5 to 6 months of age. We receive information from the outside world through our five senses.

This information then goes into the sensory registers in our brain.  Most of the information that we take in we are not even consciously aware of. 

The information that gets our interest or that we choose to focus on then moves into our working memory (loud noises, bright colors).

You can help strengthen this executive functions skill and increase recall by using the following strategy,


Review the problem

Establish desired outcome

Create memory aids: acronyms, sentences/acrostics, chunking

Allow time to practice skill/strategy

List steps of tasks/information in order

Link information together, two at a time, using mental pictures