As important as education for a child may be, it is first and foremost helpful to know a child’s learning style. There are four different learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Read & Write, and Kinesthetic, often formed into the acronym VARK. Knowing a child’s style of learning, or even your own, can help one prepare for studying and comprehension in ways that are more useful to you or your child, and therefore save you some time and frustration with learning!
Here are some descriptions of the different learning styles, followed by helpful tips of ways to implement each style:
Visual: Visual learners use their eyes and their perception of what they see to guide their learning. They prefer diagrams, images, maps, videos, and demonstrations. These children like to have things shown to them or demonstrated, or can do well with written directions. Organized learning with colors and shapes can enhance memory skills, and eye contact is important for these learners.
Highlight or color code notes and study materials when possible.
Use maps, flow charts, or draw pictures of concepts
Show the visual patterns with grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and punctuation
Auditory: The best way to exchange information with these students is simply by speaking or conversing. These students don’t mind long lectures or explanations of how problems are solved. Often, these students do better by reading out loud to themselves, hearing directions several times, or by explaining concepts in their own words. Some may excel in music or performing arts, but struggle with reading or writing.
Use rhythms, jingles, and songs to learn information
Allow the child to give oral reports
Tape record the child reading information out loud and replay it
Reading & Writing: This has been a newer learning style that has been added. These students learn best through written word, such as writing out concepts over and over, taking thorough notes, and reading novels, articles, and other scholarly work. The prefer word-for-word information that is written out in addition to diagrams or pictures.
Rewrite notes in the child’s own words from what they remember on their own
Explain graphs, math problems, and other data with verbal/written explanation
Kinesthetic: These students prefer tactile representations of information and hands-on learning. These kids love to move around and are eager to jump in and try to accomplish tasks on their own doing. These children can often be mistaken for having ADHD, but in reality, they just have a different way that they learn. These children are usually very coordinated, enjoy the outdoors, and express their feelings physically.
Provide an array of hands on learning tools, like clay, crayons, an abacus, blocks, etc.
Allow the child to play while moving around instead of sitting in a desk
Use role play to dramatize ideas or have the child pretend they are in the situation
Use textured paper and different sized pencils/pens/crayons when writing