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How to Identify your Child’s Learning Style?

In the early 1980s, Howard Gardner, a development psychologist and educational researcher asserted that different people approach learning in different ways and that children learn better in school when their individual learning styles are recognised and supported.

Let’s take a look at the three often-overlooked learning styles to help you discover if your child is an Auditory, Visual or Kinesthetic learner.

1. Auditory Learning Style

Auditory learners learn best through their sense of hearing. This means they remember and understand new concepts better when they are explained out loud—even if they’re doing the speaking themselves. They can even better retain knowledge when new ideas are paired with nonverbal sounds such as music, drum beats or clapping.

How to recognise Auditory Learners

Children who are auditory learners often love music and can remember the words to songs they hear. They can easily follow spoken directions and, if they don’t understand something, will often say, “Tell me again.” Auditory learners like to read out loud, rather than silently, even when they’re alone. The auditory learner’s understanding is much stronger when their teacher explains something to the class, rather than when they’re given a reading assignment.

How to Help Auditory Learners Excel

If you think you have an auditory learner on your hands, encourage your child to say things out loud. For example, a mini spelling bee can help your child practice spelling words by saying the letters rather than writing them out. You can also help your child practice reading by getting some books on tape and encouraging them to read along with the spoken words of the story.

If your child has a lesson to learn, try recording them reading the lesson out loud and give them the audio to listen to later. When they’re stumped by a new concept, start a conversation about it, and let your child work through the logic of the problem by talking to you about it. When they’re trying to memorize something, suggest making up a silly song about it.

2. Visual learning Style

Visual learners learn best when their sense of sight is engaged. They quickly show an affinity for books and reading, starting with picture books and quickly move on to books with text. They are engaged by bright colors and clear diagrams and can learn from videos, demonstrations and classroom handouts. Visual learners can learn information from reading assignments, from taking and reviewing handwritten notes and from the flip charts, diagrams and other visual aids that many teachers use.

How to Recognize Visual Learners

Visual learners can often be found at the front of the classroom, soaking up whatever they see their teacher write on the board. They like to draw and paint. Once they’ve read a story, they can retell it down to the smallest detail. They often say, “Show me,” when they’re trying to learn something new and like to see someone else perform a task before they try it themselves.

How to Help Visual Learners Excel

If your child is a visual learner, surround him or her with books. You’ll notice that even before he or she can read, your child will be interested in bright pictures and the stories they represent. A visual learner is probably also a budding artist. To help them remember information more clearly, stock up art supplies that they can use to create visual representations of what they’re learning.

Other good learning aids for visual learners include highlighters to use with notes and reading assignments, a small white board to create quick concept sketches, and flashcards.

Since visual learners can easily become distracted if too many sights and colors compete for their attention, create a quiet, non-distracting space for them to work on their homework.

3. Kinesthetic Learning Style

The most physical of all the learning styles, kinesthetic learners absorb information best through touch, movement and motion. The word kinesthetic refers to our ability to sense body position and movement. This means that to really understand something, they need to touch it, feel it and move it around.

How to Recognize Kinesthetic Learners

If your child means “Let me hold that,” whenever they say “Let me see that,” they’re likely a kinesthetic learner. They’re the kids who love building sets, model kits and interactive displays at the children’s museum. From an early age, they’ll reach for books that encourage interaction—pop-ups, little doors that open and close or books with textures that can be touched or petted.

How to Help Kinesthetic Learners Excel

Whenever possible, offer your kinesthetic learner things to hold in their hands. Physical math manipulatives, such as pattern blocks and base ten blocks, real money and objects can help kinesthetic learners internalize a new math concept. Give kinesthetic learners textured paper to write on and a variety of different sized pencils and pens to choose between.

You can add motion to otherwise sedentary homework sessions by getting your child an exercise ball or a swing that they can sit on instead of a desk chair. Kinesthetic learners also frequently benefit from using rhythmic motions like hand clapping or finger snapping when reading or practicing math facts. Make sure to encourage your child if you notice them unconsciously using rhythm to help themselves remember—if it’s too loud, just suggest quieter alternatives.

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Credits: Whitby | Auditory, Visual & Kinesthetic: Helping Kids Succeed Through Different Learning Styles by Sarah Mead

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