Everyone learns differently. Figuring out how your child learns best can make a world of difference as he begins school. Most people use a mixture of learning styles when they are learning something new; however, one style is usually predominant. Throughout his life, your child has been giving you clues as to whether he is a visual learner, an aural learner, a physical learner or a verbal learner. The following descriptions will help you narrow down your child's style.
If your child needs to see how something is done before doing it, talks quickly and prefers to work quietly on his own, odds are he is a visual learner. Encourage him to take notes, make outlines, draw, and color-code his work. Visual learners often have trouble absorbing spoken instructions. In school, visual learners shine on essay tests, map skills and in their ability to describe processes.
If your child struggles to sit still, is always fidgeting with something and seems to have boundless energy, there is a good chance he learns best by moving. Kinesthetic children often struggle in the classroom because traditional teaching methods rarely incorporate kinesthetic elements. Whenever possible, have him do hands-on activities to supplement what he is learning in school. Allow him to stand or sit on an exercise ball (at a low table) while he does his homework. Allow him to practice math facts and spelling words with chalk in the driveway or on a dry erase board. By giving him freedom to incorporate movement, touch and more movement at home, he'll absorb his lessons more thoroughly.
If your child reads slowly and has a tendency to repeat things to himself, he might be an aural learner. He learns best by hearing things. Reading comprehension is often difficult for aural learners. Ask your child's teacher if she objects to letting your child read aloud at home or supplementing with audio books. Reading while listening to a book is very effective for aural learners. Whenever you can, help your child come up with songs, rhymes and plays on words to learn--singing the prepositions to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic--for example.
Also called linguistic learners, verbal learners are all about written and spoken words. They read fast and comprehend well. Verbal learners often encounter difficulties with spatial and visual tasksmaps, graphs and geometry. Verbal learners learn well through writing and repetition. Encourage your verbal learner to copy notes before a test as a means of reinforcement.
By recognizing your child's learning style, you will be ready to help him maximize his strengths and overcome weak areas throughout his education. If you find that your child learns differently than you do, you'll be better prepared to find explanations and instructions that will help himeven if they would not have helped you at the same age.