Academic success is not only determined by what your child is taught, it also has to do with how she is taught. Although there are several ways to present information to a child, she will usually gravitate toward one of three common learning styles and you can start to notice her learning tendencies during the first few years of schooling. Once you determine her main style of learning, you can plan activities and lessons at home that work with that learning method to optimize her chances of understanding and retaining information.
A visual learner learns best by watching someone explain or show her. If words and concepts are written down, your child will also retain that information well. If you’re trying to teach your child a specific topic, utilize some visual aids, such as drawing pictures or showing her colorful props or books with catchy pictures. This will help your visual learner pick up on the info and keep her engaged. Act out lessons with your body, such as making a triangle or circle with your hands to show shapes. Let her draw and work mazes and puzzles.
The auditory learner will use her ears and mouth to pick up on information. Verbally explaining concepts to an auditory learner will help, as does letting her talk things through. Encourage this type of learner to read out loud or repeat words that you say. You can help her brainstorm ideas by discussing the topic and coming to a conclusion with her, playing words games or telling jokes. This age group likes music activities anyway, but an auditory learner can effectively use music to retain information. Turn some classical music on a low volume as she works on her homework or have her sing while she spells out her vocabulary list.
A kinesthetic learner likes to get her hands into a lesson or get her body moving during a lesson. Don’t waste your time trying to explain a lengthy list of information on how to complete a task. Instead, walk her through the lesson by letting her complete the tasks with her hands, one piece at a time. Field trips to the zoo will help her remember animal facts better than simply reading the info in a book. Letting her plant seeds and tending the garden will allow her to grasp the plant life cycle better than just seeing a picture of it. Don’t be too annoyed when she chews gum while she does her reading homework or taps her pencil as she works on her subtractions problems, as this helps a kinesthetic learner work better.
Learning Through Play
Children in kindergarten to second grade still learn quite a bit through play. Encourage your child to play with friends and siblings so she can continue to develop her social, emotional, physical and language skills. Play encourages creativity, impulse control and adaptability. She must learn to share, take turns and solve problems as she interacts with children her own age. Her verbal and nonverbal communication skills will continue to develop through play, as well.
- Rhode Island Department of Learning and Training: Discover Your Child’s Preferred Learning Style
- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis: Three Learning Styles
- Kids Health: School Age Readers
- School Family: What Is Your Child’s Learning Style?
- American Academy of Pediatrics: The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bond: Focus on Children in Poverty
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