Learning Styles and Tips

December 2, 2012

Most people have a preferred way to learn. Some learn best by listening, some have to observe every step, while others have to  complete a task themselves to learn it. The fact is that individuals need all three modalities to truly commit information to memory: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. While most are typically stronger in one area than another, the trick is figuring out the preferred modality and capitalizing on its strengths. By knowing your child’s learning style, you can reduce homework frustration, make communication easier, and build confidence.  It is important to know that a child’s learning style can change over the years.

There are three basic learning styles:  Auditory, Kinesthetic and Visual.

Auditory learners learn by HEARING and comprise 30% of the population.  Auditory learners:

  • Enjoy listening to explanations
  • Study by reciting information aloud
  • Like to listen to themselves read out loud
  • Like to give oral reports
  • Participate in class discussions
  • Explain things readily
  • Remember names and facts
  • Notice sound effects in movies or plays
  • Enjoy music
  • Tend to be good at grammar and foreign languages
  • Read slowly
  • Follow oral directions well
  • Have difficulty keeping quiet for long periods of time
  • Enjoy acting
  • Good in study groups

Kinesthetic learners or sometimes referred as Tactile learners; those who learn through DOING THINGS. They make up 5% of the population.  Kinesthetic learners:

  • Learn by doing and touching
  • Like to stand while working (they often have trouble sitting still)
  • Need to write information down
  • Must do hands on lessons
  • Enjoy lab work (science or computer lab)
  • Need to type information to reinforce it
  • Enjoyrole playing
  • Good at sports
  • Not  good spellers
  • Poor handwriting
  • Like loud music, especially when they are studying
  • Like to read adventure books
  • Need study breaks
  • Fidget during a lecture

Visual learners learn by SEEING or having material shown to them. Visual learners constitute 65% of the population. Visual learners:

  • Process information by reading and looking at graphics
  • Like to watch demonstrations
  • Shut down during lectures that don’t have visual components
  • Forget names, but are good at spelling
  • Need a quiet environment to study
  • Need to think before understanding a lecture
  • Like colors and art
  • Dreams or visualizes in color
  • Understands charts
  • Good with sign language
  • Like written instructions
  • Needs colors to organize materials (highlighters, colored tabs, folders)
  • Use lists
  • Use graphics
  • Use visualization to memorize material
  • Like to draw
  • Become impatient with a lecture

 There are specific strategies that help each type of learner with homework and school work.  Here are a few of our favorites!

Strategies for the Auditory Learners:

  • Study with a friend, parent, or group so you can discuss and hear the information.
  • Recite out loud the information you want to remember several times.
  • Recite information into a voice recorder.
  • Make your own audio tapes of important points to remember and listen to it repeatedly. This is especially useful for learning material for tests.
  • Use grid paper to help set your sums out correctly and in their correct columns.
  • Use different colors and pictures in notes, exercise books, etc. This reinforces the content and categorizes it.
  • Word associations to remember facts (BECAUSE-big elephants can always understand small elephants )
  • Record lectures or class talking points.
  • Books on tape!
  • Have questions read out loud.
  • Oral instructions!

Strategies for the Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners:

  • Pace or walk around while referencing your notes and reciting to yourself.
  • Use the Wikki Sticks or a stress ball to relieve fidgets.
  • Try studying in alternate spots as opposed to a desk, such as lying on your stomach or back on a comfortable lounge chair.
  • Go outside and shoot hoops to discuss a book or take a walk around the block to review math facts.
  • Study with music in the background (instrumental music is best – as opposed to heavily rhythm-based music).
  • Take frequent breaks. A reasonable schedule would be 20-30 minutes of study, and 5 minutes of break time.
  • Play Banagrams to study spelling words.

Strategies for the Visual Learners:

  • Try to work in a quiet place.
  • Wear earplugs to tune out background noise.
  • Work alone.
  • Take notes and write down lots of details.
  • To recall material, write out notes, cover your notes and then re-write them. Rewriting will help you remember better.
  • Use color to highlight main ideas.
  • Before reading a chapter or a book, preview it first by scanning the pictures, headings, terms in bold, and so on.
  • Before answering test question from a cold read, read the questions first.
  • When creating flashcards, always add a picture cue to aide memory.
  • Draw a map/timeline/picture of vocabulary words to study.
  • Make outlines of content areas.
  • Copy what’s on the board.
  • Provide visual cues (checklists).
  • Make a list!
  • Watch videos.
  • Color code material.
  • Utilize Post it notes for reading material.

It’s important to remember that everyone learns differently. Sometimes  parents make the mistake of thinking that their child learns as they do, but this is often not the case. Many adults learn well by auditory means, but children frequently need visual and kinesthetic methods. Don’t be afraid to try novel approaches when assisting your child!

Our teachers firmly believe in teaching children in the way that they learn best.  To find out more about how we complement your child’s learning style to build their confidence and scholastic skills, please contact us at sjefferson@littlescholarsllc.com.