Everyone has their own unique learning style. Some people learn best by seeing or reading, others by listening, and still others by doing something with their hands. You can help your child by identifying his or her primary learning style: Is your child a visual learner, an auditory learner, or a kinesthetic (hands-on) learner?
Visual Learners: Learn by seeing or reading
- Do well when material is presented and tested visually, not verbally
- Benefit from written notes and directions, diagrams, charts, maps, and pictures
- Often love to draw, read, and write; are good spellers and organizer
Auditory Learners: Learn by listening
- Do well in lecture-based learning environments and on oral reports and tests
- Benefit from classroom discussions, spoken directions, study groups
- Often love music, languages, and being on stage
Kinesthetic Learners: Learn by doing and moving
- Do well when they can move, touch, explore, and create in order to learn
- Benefit from hands-on activities, lab classes, props, skits, and field trips
- Often love sports, drama, dance, martial arts, and arts and crafts
What you will find is that although your child may have attributes in each column, there should be a predominant style that has more checks than the others. Once you have a general idea of what kind of learner your child is, share this knowledge with adults who will interact with your child. But just realize that even though others are aware, it’s still important to utilize additional ideas to enhance the child’s learning time.
Helpful tips for visual learners:
- Teach them to take detailed notes. Use highlighters and colored pencils to underline different areas or to organize material into categories. For example, red is for verbs, yellow for articles and blue is for adjectives when learning the parts of grammar.
- Learn to make outlines, diagrams, and lists. Create a pre-typed document that allows for this type of listing skill so your child just needs to fill in the high points he hears.
- Use drawings and illustrations, preferably in color and the more detailed the better.
Helpful tips for auditory learners:
- Use a recording device to tape lectures that can be used later to review notes.
- Teach him to read his notes or to study the materials aloud
- Memorize by using verbal repetition.
- Study with other students, talk things through, have him teach a brother or a sister the material to ensure he has learned it
- Provide oral testing as an option
- Follow along with Books on Tape
Learning tips for hands-on learners:
- Teach by doing experiments, looking things up on the internet, doing activities that teach the same material but where the child can interact with it by doing something.
- Take field trips, collect items, explore similar topics to help show the correlation with the new material
- Use activity-based study tools, like role-playing or building models, designing
- Use memory games, computer activities and materials that can be held and manipulated or used in a shared experience
- Study with music on in the background or allow TV with a familiar program playing as random backdrop noise.
- Even though your child may struggle in one area of learning, they may excel in another. Pay attention to your child’s interests and passions. Helping them develop their passions and strengths which can help them with their areas of difficulty.
- Children can be shown their strengths, weaknesses and special talents which will help with their self-confidence in knowing that they are not “dumb” just because they learn a bit differently than others in the classroom. Appearing dumb is a child’s number one fear in school!
- The ability to set realistic goals is important. Being flexible in adjusting the goals is also important. Help your child identify a few short- or long-term goals and write down steps and a timeline to achieve the goals. Check in periodically to check progress or to mark off an item.
- And because children do not want to appear different than their peers, they often have a very hard time asking for help. Talk to them about a few successful people, about how they must have asked for help when they needed it and how they used others for support.
- Completing homework can be a frustrating time no matter what your child’s learning style. Start by showing an interest in your child’s homework. If they know you are interested, they will take more pride in it. Teach/help your child to organize his homework materials before beginning and establish a regular time with your child to do the work
- Discovering your child’s learning style will open up the discussion for ways to learn ideas faster and better, without the anxiety that something is wrong with them.