Thursday, September 15, 2011

What is your child's learning style?

Q. I want to make sure I help my child succeed in school this year. Do you have any advice as to how I can best help him?

A. As the new school year starts up, this is on the mind of all parents. We want to see our kids succeed in school and find learning to be fun. Learning is the basis of all future knowledge. But for some kids, learning can be a real struggle. And, for some parents, helping your child to learn can be a real headache or battle.

One of the best things you can do for your child is to determine his or her learning style. Wikipedia defines learning as "the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice or study or by being taught." Each of us learns in one of three main ways: Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic/Manipulative. Most school-age children will be visual learners, but almost all will learn something from all three learning styles.

Click here to take an online quiz to determine your son's learning style.

So what is your child's learning style? Read through this list and see into which category your child falls. Also read through the list of the things he can do to best help him learn.
  • Visual learners process information by reading, looking at graphics, or watching a demonstration. They may grow very impatient with listening to an oral explanation. They can do very well with studying a chart or graph though.
Help him learn:
    • Use flashcards
    • Draw out illustrations
    • Use a color coding system
    • Take notes and review with him later
  • Auditory learners prefer to listen to explanations over reading them. They may like to study by reciting out loud.
Help him learn:
    • Talk it out with a partner
    • Teach it to someone else
    • Listen to books on tape
    • Set the information to a song
    • Kinesthetic or manipulative learners learn better by touching objects or taking a hands-on approach. They will have trouble sitting still to study. They may also need to write the information down or do a hands-on activity to really grasp the subject.
    Help him learn:
      • Write the information over and over
      • Highlight or underline in a text
      • Have them move around while they are looking at information
      • Encourage frequent breaks

      It is important to note that learning styles can actually change over time for your child. As they grow they learn new ways to grasp information and their styles evolve. It is also important to practice other ways of learning with your child. Those who can learn in different ways can process and absorb more information than those who are reliant on only one way of learning.

      Do you want to help your child branch out of his learning style? Try this example:

      • When helping your son with math homework, first have him complete a worksheet or do practice problems (visual learning). Then you can have your son do the problems out loud with you by reciting times tables or addition problems (auditory learning). Finally you can play a game with your son where he actually uses objects or snacks to show how the math is done (kinesthetic/manipulative).

      By tailoring homework and other activities to your son's learning style, you will help him succeed this year. Good luck and we wish your son the best.

      - Some information take from:

      If you have a question you would like to ask, EMAIL US: or leave a comment. We would love to answer one of your questions.
      *This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.

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