Understanding your child?s learning style can make a huge difference in their ability to succeed at school. For parents, it can help them keep their children engaged in lessons and on task with chores and homework.
It is also important to note that many kids have the ability to fit into more than one learning style. But they will have a primary learning style that they prefer to use more than the others.
Visual learners internalize information best when they can see it in a graphical representation. They can quickly absorb and understand charts, diagrams, maps, graphs and pictures. This learning style often finds verbal instructions difficult to follow and a bit abstract, especially in large classroom settings. You might notice a child doodling or making lists during class, closing their eyes to visualize what they?re hearing or trying to picture something when they study for a test.
They tend to prefer reading books with bright illustrations, retell stories they?ve read in detail and doodle in their notebooks to think through concepts. They are good at design and find organization a strength, whether it?s a color-coded spreadsheet or an neatly arranged desk. Visual learners also enjoy making posters, scrapbooking and painting.
A teacher can help a student with this learning style by providing supplementary handouts detailing subject matter through clear visuals and by providing plenty of space for note-taking during presentations. They can also encourage students to watch videos and slideshows of their work or class lectures, as this allows them the opportunity to review the material on their own. Sending meeting agendas ahead of time also helps them prepare for discussions and formulate their thoughts on a topic before they arrive. This gives them a chance to analyze the information and translate it into visuals in their minds before responding.
Auditory learners understand new ideas and concepts best when they hear them. These are the kids who can recite their ABCs in a flash or memorize facts by listening to them being read aloud. They notice and remember sounds, can tell the difference between musical notes and tones, and often find it easier to follow spoken directions than written ones.
They like to listen to verbal lectures and discussions, are comfortable reading out loud, and will often talk things through with a friend. They tend to be good speakers and will frequently raise their hands in class or in group projects to participate in a discussion. They may enjoy debates or other forms of group learning, and will easily understand feedback given to them in a verbal manner (such as through Q&A sessions).
It is important for these students to practice speaking out their thoughts and ideas as well as listening to others. For this reason, we suggest a multimedia curriculum that incorporates audio, video and one-on-one conversations with your child?s teachers and other homeschool parents. In addition, we suggest using songs and music to teach reading, spelling and new words. It is also a great idea to use flashcards and encourage your student to repeat out loud the lessons, concepts or new words they are studying for better retention.
Kinesthetic learners prefer physical engagement when learning. They enjoy role playing, scenarios and games to gain a better understanding of new information. These students can develop muscle memory, which is the ability to perform a task without conscious effort after practicing it repeatedly. This type of learning is often associated with sports and dance.
Kinesthetic students aren’t fond of sitting for long periods of time and struggle to focus, particularly when the subject matter is dry or boring. They can improve their ability to focus and learn by squeezing a stress ball, tapping a pencil or using a fidget toy while studying.
Auditory learners are able to retain and understand new information when it is read aloud, presented in a lecture-style forum or verbally summarized by the teacher. They can also benefit from aural cues like rhythmic beats, music or hand clapping. They can use a mind map or colour-coded notes to assist with memorizing facts and dates, and can improve their recall by speaking aloud their answers to questions in class. They might need to take frequent breaks while studying and may prefer to sit near a window to get fresh air. They can also make flash cards to aid memorization and may unconsciously snap their fingers or clap to help keep themselves awake during a lesson.
Solitary learners enjoy spending time on their own and tend to be self-motivated. They do not like collaborating or sharing ideas, but rather prefer to think through their own thoughts and questions before they share them with others. Solitary learners, or intrapersonal learners, often read self-help books to better understand their own strengths and weaknesses.
In class, solitary students are most comfortable with learning strategies that don’t require group discussion or collaboration, such as modeling or lecture style instruction. They also enjoy activities and assignments that allow them to work alone or with a partner, such as labs and experiments.
Solitary students can benefit from taking notes in class as well as studying in a quiet place after school or on the weekend. They are highly reflective and enjoy activities such as journaling or keeping a scrapbook of memories or events in their lives. They can also revisit homework, tests, and assignments to make sure they have a solid understanding of the material.
To ensure your student doesn’t become overwhelmed when reading or studying, provide them with a clear set of goals and targets for their study sessions. Solitary students may be more productive when they start each session with a clear plan, such as outlining or reviewing their notes from the previous study session and setting a deadline for how many pages or chapters they will finish in their current session.