Determining Your Child’s Learning Style
December 05, 2018
Every child learns differently. Understanding learning styles—how your child learns—lets you focus on ways of teaching that make them the most successful as students. Paying attention to certain things your kids do when you help them with homework, preparing for a test or learning a new skill will help you discover their style of studying.
Understanding Learning Styles
Your child’s learning style describes the way they learn best. The three most widely recognized styles are auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Many times, parents find that their student identifies with two of the main learning styles, but one is more dominant than the other.
Auditory learners prefer to use sound to grasp information. They tend to have the best understanding of oral instructions and remember 75% of what they hear in class. Auditory learners can be easily distracted by competing noises, but they are also distracted by complete silence. They are more likely to participate in class discussions and prefer having instructions explained to them in detail.
Visual learners receive instruction best when they are able to observe and create their own visuals. They are able to interpret diagrams, graphs, images and charts fairly quickly. Visual learners generally understand videos, demonstrations and maps more efficiently than other children. They digest written information well and are often strong readers.
Kinesthetic learners are sometimes referred to as physical or tactile learners. These students perform best when they are able to learn using their body, hands and sense of touch. Kinesthetic learners generally develop gross and fine motor skills fairly quickly and enjoy working with tools and manipulatives. They likely rock in their chairs, want to get out of their seat and fiddle with items around them.
Secondary Learning Styles
In addition to the three main learning styles, there are other styles of learning that your child may identify with. These styles include verbal, logical, social and solitary. Your child may relate to one of the main three styles coupled with one of the secondary styles. For example, your child may be a kinesthetic learner who likes working individually, or a visual learner who organizes their illustrations in a specific systematic order. Below is a breakdown of each secondary learning style.
Verbal learners use words speech, reading and writing to understand ideas. They enjoy word problems and are similar to visual learners.
Logical learners use reasoning and specific systems as they learn. They prefer an organized learning environment and are usually left-brained.
Social learners do best in learning environments that allow them to interact with others, working in groups or pairs. They thrive in partner settings and are able to thrive in busy environments.
Solitary learners thrive when learning alone and conducting self-study. They prefer gathering information individually and are often reflective learners.
Catering to Your Student’s Style
Now that you’re aware of different learning styles, get with your child to determine how they feel they learn best. Working with your student to identify their learning strengths will enable them to excel in the classroom. There are even study tips that will help certain learners study more effectively. Here are ways you can work on the skills related to different learning styles at home.
Auditory learners should…
- Repeat aloud information they are having trouble remembering
- Have soft, attention focusing music or white noise while learning new information
- Rephrase questions they are having a hard time understanding
- Read information aloud when digesting it for the first time
Visual learners should…
- Create flashcards
- Practice representing information they’ve learned creatively
- Use color to highlight main ideas
- Picture information visually in their mind
Kinesthetic learners should…
- Build models
- Act out and experience things they are learning when possible
- Learn through dioramas and physical representations
- Write spelling or vocabulary words in the air or trace them with their finger on a desk or table
To carry these lessons outside the home, it’s important to talk to your child’s teacher about their learning style. Ask for suggestions on how your student can implement their style both at home and at school.
Although it is important you are familiar with your child’s learning style, it is even more crucial that your child understands their style as well. Be sure to empower your child by showing them who they are as a learner and how their skills make them unique. Once they have an understanding of how they learn best, they can truly take their education to the next level.