Learning styles describe how someone learns, interprets, and retains information. As toddlers, our children all learn by the hands-on method, touching, feeling, and tasting everything around them. As our children grow and mature the way they learn changes. They begin to display specific skills that hint at the way they learn best. As a parent of a struggling reader, who we later found out was dyslexic, knowing my son’s learning style was essential to his success.
Knowing how your child learns gives you a huge advantage when working with them on assignments or trying to teach them something new. If you are a new homeschool parent this is extremely important. Teaching your child according to their learning style is the key to learning and retaining information.
There are 4 basic learning styles are Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetic.
Visual learners learn by seeing, they remember what they see. They may remember people or places and colors of things or even how a place was decorated. When they describe things they describe them by color, size. They have vivid imaginations and will love to draw or paint.
- Visual learners love art, drawing, and or painting.
- They remember places and names well.
- Learn best with visual examples, maps, graphs, and images
- Love books with illustrations
How to teach them:
- Make lots of visual examples, colorful charts, and diagrams
- Color-code things for them
- Write down instructions
- Draw out examples
Auditory Learners learn by hearing, they remember things they hear. When an auditory learner is recalling ( looking for information in their brain) it is organized by sounds or things they have heard. They can repeat instructions word for word and remember exact conversations. These are the kids that never forget anything you say and tend to blurt it out at the wrong time, lol. They are usually musical. They can sing or play an instrument. As a toddler, they would have loved music and banging on pots and pans or loved toys that talked or played music. Auditory learners will stop and listen to sounds while others may not even notice them. For example, the sound of the rain or the sound of a truck as it passes by.
- Notices sound others may not
- Plays an instrument or sings
- Loves to talk
- Ask a lot of questions to get a clear understanding
- Follows verbal instructions well
How to teach them:
- Make-up songs or rhymes
- Put a task to music or a beat
- Say instructions
- Talk through steps for a task
- Make-up silly stories
Reading/ Writing Learner
The reading/writing learner may also be known as a traditional learner. This type of person likes to learn by reading and writing. This learner will like to write by hand and read physical books. This type of learner remembers things that they write down and would rather write down a story then retell one orally. This type of learner would benefit from writing their spelling 5 times each, rereading a text, and taking notes.
- Remembers what they read or write
- Likes lists
- Like to reread notes
- Writes words repeatedly in order to memorize them
How to teach them:
- Write spelling words 5 times each
- Take notes while listening
- allow them to reread the text
- allow the to rewrite notes and put them in their own words
Kinesthetic learners learn by physically doing. This learning is usually good at sports, is a dancer, or has great balance. Kinesthetic learners have a good sense of direction and good hand-eye coordination. They learn using large muscle movements. For example, Spelling words with their whole body or writing out words in the air.
- Good as sports
- Great balance
- Has a hard time sitting still
How to help
- These learners need to move around a lot
- Practice spelling words while bouncing a ball, each bounce is one letter
- Make a game out of whatever you are learning
- Loves hands-on activities, science experiments especially
Most children will have traits of all 4 learning styles but one will usually be more apparent than the others. Think about the kinds of things your child likes to do? This will give you a good indication of what their learning style might be. Most teachers will use a variety of all 4 methods to teach students. Using a teaching method that covers all styles tends to have the best results like using a lap book to cover all 4 learning styles or the Orton-Gillingham method. Knowing your child’s learning style will help you advocate for your child, you can tell teachers how your child learns best so teachers can make appropriate accommodations.
These are just the 4 basic learning styles but there are many more. There are also lots of online tests to help you figure out your child’s learning style. Teaching to your child’s learning style is one of the best things you can do for your child and will be the least stressful for you.
Visual learners learn by seeing, Auditory learners learn by hearing, Reading/Writing learners learn by reading and writing and kinesthetic learners learn by doing. When your child is taught the way they learn they will retain information better, faster and it will stick. This is the biggest benefit of learning styles. So, what’s your learning style?