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The skills required to do well on the Stanford-Binet include

  • Listening ability
  • General knowledge
  • Language development
  • Mathematical achievement
  • Mathematical knowledge
  • Spatial relations
  • Visualization
  • Induction
  • Working memory
  • Memory span
My first recommendation at any age is the series Building Thinking Skills.  This series teaches core verbal and spatial reasoning skills.  It includes topics like verbal analogies and sequences.

Remember that if your child is being tested because you think they’re gifted or are hoping they qualify for a competitive entry program that the expectation is that they have cognitive skills above those normal for their age.  Purchasing the level of Building Thinking Skills designated for their age is unlikely to help them.  A gifted 3 year old may well be working at the level of Building Thinking Skills Primary.  A gifted 5th grader may be ready for Building Thinking Skills Level 3 figural and verbal.  Current reading and math level are usually a good guide to appropriate level although often gifted children are able to work more rapidly through the figural (spatial) exercises than their reading level might suggest.
You know your child best.  Browse the product range, view the sample pages and choose from there.  I highly recommend the manipulative blocks for young children.  They’re used with directed activities in the Beginning and Primary levels of Building Thinking Skills but you and your child will find many more uses for them.

After Building Thinking Skills the most appropriate choices will depend on your child.  You can find recommendations based on age here.  General recommendations follow.
Listening, General Knowledge and Language

This series is recommended for the typical child in Pre K – Gr 1.  I recommend it for use as young as your child will sit and listen through to 3rd grade.  The series contains logic riddles in different subject areas.  For a young child it will build their general knowledge and reasoning as they work through the riddles.  For an older, able child, one of the challenging parts of testing can be giving the expected answer.  Creative, gifted children may give an answer that you can understand but that isn’t what is expected.  The examiner has limited ability to mark this type of answer correct.  The riddles in Can You Find Me? can be used to discuss what most people would choose as the correct answer.


This series teaches Latin and Greek word roots leading to stronger vocabulary.  You can start with Word Roots Beginning as soon as your child is reading at a 3rd grade level.  For children reading at a 4th grade level, or above, start with Word Roots A1.  This is one series where you want to start at the beginning.  A 12th grader who has never been exposed to word roots should start with A1. 
Spatial relations and Visualization
Exercises in ten different areas of visual perception and visual memory. 
A game integrating logical and spatial reasoning.  Can be played solitarie.  Suitable for all ages although you’ll need to adapt the rules for young children.

Thinker Doodles

Organized analysis and motor skills as your child uses picture clues to match complete pictures with their unfinished forms.  There are titles in the series suitable for use in Pre K – Gr 2.
Very challenging dot-to-dot puzzles include matching symbols and linking co-ordinates.  Your visual perception is challenged as attempt to work out what the completed picture will be.  Perseverance and attention to detail are other skills built while having fun.
Listening and Induction
This is a series teaching inference and brain storming.  It can also be used to build auditory memory.  Many of the scenarios involve word play and unusual work meanings so it can also build vocabulary.  It’s recommended for use with children with a vocabulary at or above a 4th grade level. 
Mathematical achievement and knowledge
This series, with titles suitable for use Pre K – 8th grade is a full math standards based math curriculum with an emphasis on understanding. 

For extention math and challenging math activities for Gr 3 and up try Cranium Crackers and Brain Stretchers.  These will help not just with the math component of testing but with reasoning out how to attack a problem of a type you haven’t seen before.  Given the variety of types of questions on the Stanford-Binet this is a useful skill to have. 

Working Memory and Memory Span

Memory Challenge works on visual memory.  The Stanford-Binet is more focused on auditory memory and working memory which is using the information that you’ve remembered (e.g. repeating a phone number you’ve just heard backwards – not an actual question).  Having a strong visual memory can help with spatial reasoning and visualization though.  Memory Challenge is an adaptive program suitable for use with all ages. 



No-one will tell you exactly what is going to be asked when your child takes the Stanford-Binet.  What you can find out are the skills that the Stanford-Binet aims to test.  Work with your child in those skill areas to improve skills and test scores. 

The titles I’ve suggested above are designed to improve performance in one or more of these areas.  Building Thinking Skills is the place to start.  After that choose titles with a variety of exercises that your child will enjoy doing. 


Stanford-Binet is a registered trademark of Riverside Publishing Corp.  The information on this page is provided by Think Tonight and is neither authenticated or endorsed by Riverside Publishing or its parent company Houghton Mifflin.