The best way to determine and teach your child’s learning style is to:
Study your child
Consider the following questions about Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic child learners:
- Does your child express emotion through facial expression, tone of voice, or body language?
- Do your child’s primary interests involve pictures, sounds, or movement?
- When encountering something new, does your child want to examine it, ask questions about it, or touch it?
- In a group setting, does your child watch others, talk to others, touch others or encourage others to move?
- How does your child communicate? What forms of communication does your child best understand?
It may take some time and experimentation to figure out your child’s dominant learning style. The goal is not to pigeon hole your child or make excuses for poor behavior, but to find ways to work with, not against, his or her natural strengths.
Tailor to Your Child’s Learning Style
Try using the suggestions below to tailor your curriculum to meet your child’s needs.
Your Auditory Learner
Auditory learners receive information by listening or talking. They need to repeat information aloud or hear information repeated for accurate processing. This can take the form of repeating directions to themselves, saying answers aloud as they write them, and moving their lips while reading.
These children can be vocal and dramatic, and typically enjoy storytelling, audio tapes, reading aloud, listening to music, and playing instruments. They have a good memory for conversation, and thrive on group discussions, and asking and answering questions.
They usually follow oral directions well, and may frequently whistle, talk or hum to themselves. Parent teaching methods that involve reading aloud and group discussion may appeal to auditory learners.
Tips for Teaching Auditory Learners
- Read information and directions aloud.
- Give your child the opportunity to discuss the directions before beginning an assignment.
- Use oral drill for practice.
- Encourage participation in spelling and geography study.
- Provide opportunities for group study.
- Make a song or poem out of information that needs to be memorized.
- Have child record information and play it back in order to commit it to memory.
- Teach child to read or talk to self in a whisper.
- Motivate reluctant readers through the use of rhyming books, poetry, and audiobooks.
Your Visual Learner
Visual learners receive information by seeing and making mental images. They may think in words, such as reading and writing, or images, such as charts, graphs, maps and drawings.
These children may move slowly because they are paying attention to details. They sometimes appear to be daydreaming, and prefer to watch an activity for a while before joining in.
Visual learners typically enjoy reading, math, art, and visual stimulation in the form of television and computer games. They have a good memory for pictures and the written word, and are adept at noticing similarities and differences. In subjects such as spelling, they determine whether or not a word is correct by asking the question, “Does it look right?”
Children who are visually oriented are generally neat and organized. Your visual learner may prefer workbooks over those that require projects and group interaction.
Tips for Teaching Visual Learners
- Teach your child to take notes so he has something to look at while listening.
- Put information in the form of drawings or maps.
- Highlight information to make it more prominent.
- Teach child to put information in the form of an outline.
- Give written, as opposed to verbal, instruction.
- Use flashcards and worksheets, as opposed to oral practice.
- Motivate reluctant readers with books that have interesting pictures. When books have been made into a movie, view the movie before reading the book to give your child a visual to refer to.
Your Kinesthetic/Tactile Learner
Kinesthetic/tactile learners receive information by moving or touching. The term “kinesthetic” refers to large muscle movements such as those required for athletics or dance. “Tactile” refers to touch, or small motor movements such as those involved in sewing, typing or craftsmanship.
These children express themselves through gestures and body language, and can have extreme mood swings. They need physical action, and can best remember information that learned while participating in activities or imitating movements.
Kinesthetic learners are typically coordinated and adept at building and taking things apart. Parent teaching methods which involve projects, models, and experiments will appeal to these individuals.
Tips for Teaching Kinesthetic Learners
- Associate memorization of facts with bodily movement such as taking steps, jumping on a trampoline, swinging, etc.
- Take frequent breaks. Alternate short periods of seatwork with periods of activity.
- Let your child complete assignments while rocking or sitting on a bouncy ball.
- Let your child stack blocks, squeeze a ball, build clay models, or draw while listening.
- Record information to be memorized and let your child listen while swinging, jogging or engaging in physical activity.
- Use manipulatives to teach mathematical concepts.
- Use textured letters and alphabet magnets to teach spelling and reading.
- Have your child write in sand, shaving cream or pudding to practice spelling or letter formation. Your can also write on your child’s back with your finger or have your child use his finger to write in the air.
- Let your child write on a large chalkboard or dry erase board when studying. Have him or her erase information as it is learned.
- Let your child run his finger along the words or highlight information while reading.
- Motivate reluctant readers with pop up, scratch and sniff, lift the flap, push/pull tabs and other books that invite activity. Older readers may prefer, books that feature adventure or sports.
Please let me know what you think of my list of teaching your child based on their learning style.