Children’s Learning styles are simply different approaches or ways of learning. By observing your child you should be able to determine which Learning Style best describes them and how to approach your phonics lessons. By so doing, you will better understand and assist them in skills they need to succeed in school or home if you are homeschooling.
By adjusting your teaching/parenting approach to fit your children’s learning styles, you will be creating a good foundation towards improving their educational achievment! Children can use a mixture of learning styles or be dominant in one. A child with diverse learning styles is usually a more flexible learner.
So what are the four main learning styles?
1. Visual Learners learn through seeing. These learners like to visualize things by thinking in pictures and learn best–from maps, charts and diagrams; they enjoy art and drawing. Visual learners are often fascinated with machines and inventions. They like mazes and puzzles.
What you can do: Use board and memory games to teach, offer lots of picture books. When reading aloud to your child give them coloured pencils so they can draw while listening.
2. Auditory/Language Learners learn through listening. They learn best through talking and listening to what others have to say. They often spell words accurately and easily and are often very good readers. Auditory learners enjoy listening to tone of voice, pitch & are often musically talented. These learners often benefit from reading text aloud and using a tape recorder. They often have excellent memory for names, dates and like word games.
What you can do: Have your child dictate a story to you and type it out on a word processor — then your child can share it with you. Read aloud together and consider purchasing some book/tape selections. Let them create their own word problems.
3. Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners learn through moving, doing and touching. Tactile/Kinesthetic persons learn best through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them and may find it hard to sit still for long periods becoming distracted by their need for activity and exploration. For this reason they are often labeled with ADD. They communicate with body language and gestures and prefer to show you rather than tell you. Kinesthetic learners are often good at sports.
What you can do: Use hands-on activities and experiments. Physical action is the key ingredient to stimulating kinesthetic learners. While learning, let your child rock, swing their legs, play with pencils, chew gum etc!
4. Logical/Analytical Learners learn through exploring patterns and relationships; Analytical learners enjoy puzzles and seeing how things work. They constantly ask questions and are capable of highly abstract forms of logical thinking at an early age. They can solve mental math problems quickly and enjoy strategy and computer games. They like to create their own designs with blocks/legos.
What you can do: science experiments and have them record the results; use computer learning games and word puzzles. When reading fiction, discuss the relation of the story to real-life situations and people.
Remember all children work well with hands-on activities and manipulatives. My own children’s learning styles seemed to incorporate all of the above – which is especially common in the early years. But as they get older, one dominant learning style may surface.