7 learning styles to maximize your child’s potential
Learning styles can have a strong impact on children’s behavior in and out of the classroom. There’s no right or wrong way; it’s all individual preference typically rooted in an array of factors. But, understanding your child’s learning style may be the key to success this school year. Help your student, and learn the way they learn!
Some of the leading experts in education have agreed there are seven main learning styles – a preferred way a person absorbs, processes, thinks, comprehends, and retains information.
So what are the seven types?
As the name would suggest, visual learners will prefer using images to help process information and communicate their thoughts with others. These learners may need to draw out their ideas or write them down to really understand what they are thinking, so a whiteboard or a sketchpad are great tools for them.
You will typically see a visual learner doodling or coloring and can easily visualize projects, plans and outcomes. This makes them excellent artists, architects, photographers, designers and strategic planners. Their capabilities of seeing something before it is created is impactful.
Auditory / Musical
Did you know musicians are typically auditory learners? Yeah, it makes sense. These learners will oftentimes use sound and rhythmic cues as memory aids. When they read, the auditory learner will prefer to read out loud, even if it is to themselves. They aren’t afraid to speak in class and they’re excellent at remembering names. These learners will benefit from jingles and often have music playing in the background to help them focus on their task.
Like the auditory learner, reading out loud is helpful for a verbal learner. Repitition is key. When your child is reading out loud, encourage them to dramatize their voice and vary their tones rather than reading in a monotone voice. This will not only help turn their speech into an energectic presentation, it will help them recall the information.
They process information best using words – both in speech and in writing. Getting excited about learning a new word and its definition is not unusual for this type of learner; it’s just another way to express themselves clearly!
A tip for studying for the verbal learner is using mnemonics – acronyms focusing on the first letter of the word to make up another word or memorable sequence. Phrases will also help trigger the verbal learner’s memory.
Kinesthetic / Physical
If your child likes getting their hands dirty, you more than likely have a kinesthetic learner. These people will use their body and hands to process information and tend to be extremely animated. (Most people can be considered a kinesthetic learner to some extent.)
Making models out of clay, doing puzzles, and learning through textures and touch will help them learn best. If your student is preparing for an exam, a wiggle chair, a stress ball to hold, or even a pencil to tap will put their mind at ease to focus. Encourage them to mime action to pair with what they are learning. And sometimes, taking a break to go for a run, jump on the trampoline, or purely play is the best time these learners will think of something unique.
Aww… our little social butterflies. For a social learner, these are actually the best situations to be in. They learn best in groups, studying with others, and are more likely to succeed when teachers assign group projects. They tend to get fired up about brainstorming and creating ideas.
One-on-one time with your student’s teacher or a tutor will help them work out their problems quickly. Talking through solutions and receiving feedback on a method or answer is rewarding to them to keep pushing forward to reach their goals.
Logical / Mathematical
Do you spend more time explaining the rules to the game more so than playing the game? Welcome to the mindset of a logical thinker. Typically growing up to be engineers, mathematicians, or scientists, logical learners process information with reasoning, systems, and questions – lots of questions. Their ability to solve problems with numbers and abstract visual information is best when they can be explained in logical or linear order. The logical learner will work similarly to the visual learner – oftentimes incorporating graphs, charts and timelines to categorize information. In groups, explaining the process of how the project will unfold will put their mind at ease.
On the opposite side of the social spectrum, solitary learners work best when they are able to work alone. Don’t mistake this for being a loner. They have friends just like everyone else, but when they are trying to retain information and process tasks and responsibilities, a quiet session away from crowds will suit them best. Encourage your child to journal, read, and record their thoughts if they are a solitary learner.
These independent students often feel more confident with a plan in place, knowing which direction they are going. Encourage your solitary learner to ask questions when they feel they need more direction.
As the world-renowned sociologist William Spady once stated: “All students can learn and succeed but not on the same day in the same way.” Knowledge is power and when parents can understand how their children best learn, they can become better advocates for them, their education, and their future.
Take the Quiz
Now you know about the different types of learning styles. But, what’s next? Put your knowledge to the test and take our quiz to learn what type of learner your child is. Once you establish their preferred education style, push the boundaries and encourage them to try the other styles out there, too!
1. You let your child pick out one toy at the store. Which are they most likely to choose?
a) Coloring book
b) A movie
2. What does your child choose to do in their free time?
a) Art lessons
b) Music lessons
c) Sports or drama lessons
3. You’re stuck at a train for 10-minutes and no electronics. How does your child occupy their time?
b) Telling you an elaborate story
4. If your child got to plan the family activity for the day, what would they choose?
a) A movie
b) A concert
c) Swimming pool
5. When your child reads a book to himself, he:
a) Sits quietly, understanding the book
b) Needs to hear the words out loud
c) Is moving around while you read
6. Which apps does your child prefer?
a) Looking at photos
b) Watching videos
c) Playing a game
Your child responds best when they are able to see it. Providing them with pictures and words will help them learn and understand. Re-writing spelling works, math facts and other lists will help them visualize the problem. Or, try videoing
the lesson and replay it as needed.
If your child is an auditory learner, being able to hear the instructions will help them to be successful. Allowing them to record the lesson and replay it as often as needed will help them retain information, as well.
A lot of learners need to be on the move. Helping them engage with hands on experiences will help them reach
their full potential. Practicing writing in shaving cream is a great idea! Give them a set of things to do and reward them with movement, too. For example, complete three math problems then get up and dance!
words by Jenna Carda
quiz by Amber Anker, Canyon Lake Elementary School, Rapid City