Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Adapting to child's learning style

by Michael Richman

December 06, 2012

Q. How can parents determine their child’s “learning style” and what are some tips to help students succeed in school based on their particular “learning style”?

A. How each child reaches full academic potential is something every parent is yearning to know. What’s your child’s “learning style” — visual, auditory or kinesthetic? Identifying one’s learning style allows students to score higher on tests, have better attitudes and become more efficient. Students learn in many ways, like seeing, hearing and experiencing things first hand. But for most students, one of these methods stands out. Your “learning style” may be the single most important key to improving your grades.

Research has shown that students can perform better on tests if they change study habits to fit their own personal learning styles.

Here are two different ways you can identify your child’s “learning style”:

Paper airplane activity: For the first attempt at making the paper airplane, verbal directions are read. The second attempt, visual and written directions are given. For the third attempt, the instructor demonstrates each step while the child folds the paper airplane. Which one was the child most successful with?

Learning style memory exercise: This activity is best for a group. Choose 15 items that can be seen, heard and touched. Take each item out of a box and have the children pass them quickly down the row to each other. They will have the opportunity to look at each item, feel it and hear it. When all of the items have been passed and returned to the box, have them see if they can recall the items and write them down on a sheet of paper.

Then discuss the results: What did you forget and why? How did you remember the items? Did it help you to remember the items if you could touch them? See them? Hear them?

Here are some tips for each style:

Visual learners: Take lots of notes and write down any explanations.

Organize your work, rewrite and reorganize; make outlines and lists.

Draw out pictures, mind-maps, flow diagrams and time-lines.

Visualize pictures to go with information you are trying to remember.

Study in a private place with no visual distractions.

Use flashcards; color code words; use highlighters; circle words; underline.

Auditory learners:

Use word associations and songs to remember facts and lines.

Record lectures and classes to play back if possible.

Watch and listen to videos.

Repeat facts over and over with your eyes closed.

Participate in class discussions and study groups.

Tape notes after writing them.

Kinesthetic learners:

Study in short blocks.

Keep your body active while you study; chew gum, squeeze a stress ball, walk around with a book in your hand and recite information to be learned.

Study and role play with others.

Type and use the computer while studying.

Play music while you study.

Play memory games.

The Family Center, a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization, serves as the community’s centralized hub for information, resources and referral for families and professionals.

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