All children have a natural way of picking up information. How they do that, however, depends on their clear learning style. Your child may learn best either by looking, touching, listening or doing. Knowing what your child’s learning style is can help better inform your school choices and activities and can give you a better idea of how to help shape your child’s study habits and success in the classroom.
It is important for your child to have experiences that call all learning styles into play so that they can succeed in kindergarten and beyond. When parents and teachers assist children in learning in the style that’s most natural for them, they are more likely to develop the self-confidence necessary to master every learning style.
Read on to explore four learning types and see what best describes your child’s style.
Auditory learners take in information by hearing, listening, understanding and remembering things they have heard. Your child, if an auditory learner, stores information by the way that it sounds, and they have an easier time understanding spoken instructions than written ones. Your child often learns by reading out loud because they have to hear it or speak it in order to know it.
If your child is an auditory learner, she probably hums or talks to herself or others if she becomes bored. As a teacher, I often thought children were not paying attention even though they may be hearing and understanding everything being said.
Visual learners learn best by reading or seeing pictures. These learners understand and remember things by sight. They can picture what they are learning in their head and learn best by using methods that are mainly visual.
This learning type likes to see what they are learning and may often close their eyes to visualize or remember something. If they become bored, they are likely to find something to watch. They may also have difficulty with spoken directions and may be easily distracted by sounds. Visual learners may also be attracted to color and to spoken language (like stories) with pictures.
Tactile learners are “hands-on” and learn by touching and doing. This learning type understands and remembers things through physical movement. If your child is a tactile learner, they prefer to touch, move, build or draw what they learn and tend to learn better when some type of physical activity is involved.
A tactile learner needs to be active and take frequent breaks, often speaks with their hands and with gestures, and may have difficulty sitting still. They also like to take things apart and put things together and often tend to find reasons to tinker or move around when bored.
Tactile learners may be very well coordinated and have good athletic ability. Tactile learners can easily remember things that were done, but may have difficulty remembering what they saw or heard in the process. These learners often communicate by touching and appreciate physically expressed forms of encouragement, such as a pat on the back.
Aural (auditory-musical) learner
As an aural learner, your child prefers using sound and music as well as sensitivity to sounds from the environment, the human voice, and musical instruments. These learners tend to think in sounds and rhythmic patterns instead of words or pictures.
It is important to note that no child is exclusively one type of learner and may use multiple styles. I recommend you work with your child’s teacher to share valuable insights and identify your child’s primary learning style. Together you can learn to better understand their learning strengths, as well how you can enhance any weaknesses.
Kimberly V. Porter, M. Ed. is an early childhood development professional, author, and editor-in-chief for eLATION magazine. She welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.