Everyone learns differently, so when it comes time to study, it’s important that you know what learning type your child gravitates towards. The four learning types are visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic, but don’t expect them to neatly fit under one type. Most people exhibit signs of all four types, so allow your child to explore what learning methods they prefer and go from there.
Since it isn’t always so cut and dry, it can be hard to identify a child’s learning type. Instead of trying to fit them into a certain box, pay attention to how they prefer to study, what methods help them the most, and what comes naturally to them. Once you’ve observed their study habits, you can nudge them in the right direction.
It can be difficult to know what to look for, but if they love to look at pictures and diagrams, your child could be a visual learner. These learners are good with charts and maps and tend to create strong images in their minds when they read. It also might take some time for them to process speech and academic lectures.
When it comes time for them to study, encourage them to create visual representations of what they are learning. Suggest that they create an outline of the subject, or put together diagrams that can summarize lessons. Also make sure that they keep all the handouts they receive in class because they can be especially useful to visual learners, especially if the sheets serve as a compact representation of information.
Kids that remember a lot of details from conversations, tend to be musically and rhythmically oriented, and enjoy engaging in discussions tend to lean toward auditory learning. Many of them prefer giving oral presentations over putting together a written report, but they also tend to read slower and may have difficulty interpreting graphs and diagrams.
As much as they might like to listen to music, it’s vital that you eliminate any sonic distractions that could break their concentration. You can help them study by encouraging an open discussion about what they know and don’t know about a subject. It can also be helpful if you record your discussions or introduce them to audiobooks and podcasts in order to stimulate their auditory learning. If you can, introduce them to mnemonics and develop rhymes and tunes to help them remember important concepts and facts.
As the name suggests, these learners enjoy reading and tend to write things down to commit them to memory. They tend to take exhaustive notes from class and will study tirelessly from them. To avoid distractions, these students will find isolated areas where they can study without the risk of distractions.
They tend to work better on their own, so you don’t have to hover over them as much. Supply them with enough resources–like a dictionary–and they will discover the answers on their own. Encourage them to notate their books while they read, and maybe even re-write their notes to reinforce important concepts and ideas. It can also be helpful for them to convert charts and graphs into written form in order to get a better sense of what is being said.
Kinesthetic learners like to engage in tactile learning where they can roll up their sleeves and work with their hands. They might enjoy building models or putting together toys–maybe even taking them apart as well. These students are good at remembering things once they have done them and often enjoy PE, science experiments, and playing sports. Many of these learners tend to have poor handwriting and aren’t great spellers.
One of the best ways to help your child as a kinesthetic learner is to encourage them to study in a group setting. Have them role play or work from specific examples in lessons they are studying in order to give them a physical representation of otherwise abstract concepts. Allow them to work with their hands while they study because it can stimulate their minds. They can also listen to music because they get less distracted than other kids.
The biggest challenge is identifying what your child needs from you to help them succeed. Once you discover their optimal studying conditions, help them continue with what is working. You should see better study habits emerge, and they should be able to flourish.