Best Chapter Books To Read Aloud To 5 Year Olds What is Your Child’s Learning Style?

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What is Your Child’s Learning Style?

I can remember looking at math word problems as a kid and feeling like none of them made sense. My dad, who was good at math, couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do it. So I was secretly drawing the problem and “lo and behold, I got it!” I later learned that I am a visual learner and have to “see” the problem to understand.

Some children are talking. In order to process information, these students like to discuss it with others. After hearing the words, they understand and usually remember the information. We call them auditory learners.

Another group learns while being active and playing games. If they can manipulate objects with their hands, they are able to understand the concept and it is embedded in their long-term memory.

There are many ways that professionals categorize different learning styles, and the process can be complex. However, the most widely used system divides all learning styles into three basic categories: Visual Learners, Auditory Learners, and Kinetic Learners.

Why should we know our child’s learning style?

When we realize that there are differences in the way children learn, we will not try to force them to learn like us. Just think how much easier homework would be if parents could help, using techniques that best suit their child. If my father knew I was a visual learner, he might show me how to draw the problem or make a visual chart to help me understand. I would feel that drawing pictures was an acceptable method of learning rather than being secretive about it.

Children often feel guilty if they cannot understand a problem when it is explained verbally. The child who needs hands-on activities is frustrated and unable to sit still during long dissertations. Their behavior is then labeled as unacceptable and a different learning style becomes a discipline problem. Kinesthetic learners struggle to conform to our expectations.

Think of the difference it could make if you let the teacher know about your child’s learning style early in the year. Many teachers do not have the time to analyze each child’s style. They usually teach according to their own particular learning style.

Children who have learned to recognize and understand their own learning styles are the most likely to succeed. They can use techniques that work specifically for them. I know a kid who had struggled all through school. Eventually he got to college and was inundated with college professors who needed copious notes. This was not her learning style. He had to hear the information over and over again. He realized this and used a tape recorder to play back the information while repeating much of it out loud. As an audio student, this was her successful method of learning.

Children can use a mix of learning styles or be dominant in one. A child with different learning styles is usually a more flexible learner. Read the characteristics of each learning style. See if you can identify your child’s style from the descriptions below

Characteristics of visual learners (65% of the population):

  • He learns through pictures
  • Enjoys art and design
  • Read maps, graphs and charts well
  • They like mazes and puzzles
  • Use lists or outlines to organize thoughts
  • It is able to detect repeating patterns in information
  • It remembers where information is on a page
  • Sees pictures or words in the “mind’s eye”
  • He is able to visualize stories
  • Often a good speller (can see the word in their mind)
  • He has a vivid imagination
  • Becomes impatient or distracted when extensive listening is required
  • Color is important and helps memory
  • He likes to put things together
  • Usually likes reading/writing better than math/science
  • Lover of doodling
  • Enjoys tracing words and pictures
  • He is often accused of being a daydreamer in class

How can I help my Visual Learner?

Since math is abstract, it is important to draw a picture or explain with diagrams.

Encourage and teach your child how to draw to understand math problems. Usually visual children are very creative and can find a good memory technique to remember vocabulary or math procedures. They just need to know that it is an acceptable method.

When reading, suggest visual cues. Offer picture books of all types. When reading chapter books together, encourage visualizing the story and scenes at intervals. Provide colored pens for note taking or writing. Suggest writing the syllables of new spelling or vocabulary words in different colors. Help them make lists or outlines of information. Suggest drawing a picture of historical information to remember.

Characteristics of auditory learners (30% of the population):

  • Tends to remember and repeat ideas presented orally
  • He learns well through lectures
  • He is an excellent listener
  • He is often the leader for a group discussion
  • Can reproduce symbols, letters or words by hearing them
  • He likes to talk
  • Enjoys theater performances, movies
  • He can learn concepts by listening to tapes
  • He enjoys music
  • Enjoys question/answer sessions
  • Holds information set to rhyme
  • Finds small group discussions stimulating and informative
  • He needs to hear himself say the information out loud

How can I help my Audio Learner?

These children learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, discussing things and listening to what others have to say. Talk to your child about the homework and ask them to explain it to you. This enhances learning. Audio learners often benefit from reading text aloud and using a tape recorder.

Read math problems together and break a word problem into smaller parts. Discuss what it means and talk about possible solutions. Why would this work or not? The audio student needs this type of dialogue.

In each topic it is essential that you listen to your child read the information aloud and then discuss it. This may seem time consuming to a parent, but it is the best way for the phonics student to succeed. In addition, it creates a closer relationship. Audio learners do not do well working alone.

Audio learners absorb information like a sponge. They can listen to a stimulating video tutorial and remember most of the information, especially if there is a discussion afterwards. If there is information that needs to be memorized, put it to rhyme or music. Make it fun!

Characteristics of kinesthetic students (5% of the population):

  • He learns by doing, direct participation
  • He often gets upset or finds reasons to move
  • He is not very attentive to visual or auditory presentations
  • He wants to “do” something
  • He tries things
  • He likes to handle objects
  • Gestures while speaking
  • He is often a poor listener
  • Responds to music with physical movement
  • They like to clap to the rhymes
  • Uses hand movements when sounding out words
  • Often finds success in physical response activities

Kinesthetic/tactile children learn best through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the natural world around them. Touching things, tasting them, and moving their bodies are all ways that kinesthetic children learn. They may have difficulty sitting still for long periods and are often distracted by their need for activity and exploration. These students have high energy levels. They think and learn best while moving. They often miss much of what is said during a lecture and have trouble concentrating when asked to sit and read. These students prefer to do, rather than watch or listen. They are often diagnosed as ADHD

How can I help my Kinesthetic/Tactile Learner?

These students need many objects to work with and manipulate. Physical objects are essential, especially for math. There are many practical materials available in educational stores and many teachers are willing to lend some of their teaching materials to parents. For example, if you are helping your child tell time, take an old clock and let him move the hands while you explain the concept.

Reading, spelling and writing are often challenges for these children. Buy letters and have the child spell words using something they can touch and feel. Sometimes using the computer is beneficial as they move the keys. Math computer games also work well.

Tapping the syllables while reading words helps kinesthetic learners to sound out the word. If they forget punctuation at the end of a sentence, suggest hand signals such as a closed fist for a full stop, an outstretched arm for an exclamation point, and a bent arm with outstretched arm for a question mark. By using the body, information is internalized.

Use games to enhance learning. For addition and subtraction, play dominoes or card games. Write unknown words on small pieces of paper and play ‘Go fish’ or ‘Concentration’ to help reading skills.

Terms for all children

Knowing your child’s learning style is important! When you can help your child in a way that they can respond positively, you set a good tone for learning. Self-esteem increases. Your child is much happier because he feels accepted for who he is. They don’t need to learn like someone else. They have special abilities. They are unique!

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