Are you a parent who is passionate about learning? Do you want your children to enjoy school and find success IN and OUT of the classroom?
Then welcome to Learn Their Way!
In this week’s episode, we’ll discuss learning styles activities.
In last week’s episode of Learn Their Way, we discussed whether or not learning styles are a myth. Even if they are a bunch of “hooey,” understanding all the different ways that children learn can help us personalize their learning experience at home.
In this episode, you will hear a variety of fun and simple learning styles activities for kids at home, whether you are homeschooling or helping with homework.
We’ll also talk about how to identify your child’s preferred learning styles and explain why some of your toughest parenting struggles may be related to learning styles.
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EPISODE 4 TRANSCRIPT:
Welcome to the Learn Their Way podcast, where we teach strategies designed to help students understand how they learn best and find success in and out of the classroom.
I’m your host, Melissa Droegemueller, and in this episode, we’ll discuss a variety of fun and simple learning styles activities you can use at home.
Well, hello! Welcome to episode four: Learning Styles Activities (at Home)
In last week’s episode, we discussed myths about learning styles and how we can use them to help our children learn better. Today, I want to talk about practical strategies and fun educational activities for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning.
Before we dive into today’s episode, I want to make an important confession. I love taking personality quizzes: Myers-Briggs, the enneagram, my Hogwarts house… Even if they turn out to be a bunch of hooey, I want to understand why I do the things I do, and I want to feel like I belong.
I also love learning more about the people I care about: their love languages, their values, and yes — their learning styles. When I understand that my daughter would rather sit on an exercise ball to do her schoolwork than a hard, wooden chair or do her math lesson orally instead of writing down the answers, I am showing that I care about her and her preferences.
From the very beginning of my teaching journey nearly 20 years ago, I have been passionate about individualized education, understanding who our learners are and tailoring lessons to each child’s needs, so they can understand and enjoy learning. While this may not always be possible in a classroom with 20 to 30 students, it IS possible at home.
In last week’s episode, I introduced five different learning styles: visual, auditory, read/write, kinesthetic, and tactile. Many of us are actually multi-modal, which simply means that we typically gravitate to two (or more) styles above the others.
The best way to determine your child’s learning style preferences, in my opinion, is observing how they choose to spend their time during (non-screen time) free play.
Visual learners might choose art activities, while an auditory learner might enjoy music or rhythm toys. Our kinesthetic learners will be running around the yard, tactile learners might be playing with LEGOs or sensory bins, and our read/write learners will obviously be drawn to books.
After observing your child for several days, you may notice certain patterns emerge.
My oldest child has been writing and illustrating books since before she could write in complete sentences. Now, as a teenager, it’s clear that she is primarily a visual learner, but she is also very musical.
Our younger daughter is more of a tactile and kinesthetic learner. She is always moving. But — like her sister — she has an ear for rhythm and memorizes poetry easily. She can also remember all kinds of random facts she picks up in her favorite non-fiction books.
As you can hear, both of my children have multiple strengths and preferences when it comes to learning. Knowing how they learn best allows me to offer a variety of strategies for learning (and retaining) new information.
If your child is a visual learner, he/she might learn best with flashcards or bright, colorful workbooks, because they are visually stimulating. Visual learners will enjoy drawing pictures to solve a math problem or use a graphic organizer to work through a reading comprehension exercise.
If your child is an auditory learner, he/she might look like they aren’t paying attention, but they can often remember and repeat back word-for-word what you just said. They enjoy listening to audio books, podcasts, and music. Your child may benefit from a personalized playlist with important information to memorize, favorite stories, and great music.
Many young children will appear to be auditory learners UNTIL they learn to read, since most of their learning during their preschool years comes in through their ears. Once a child learns to read independently, their preferred learning style may change.
If your child is a read/write learner, he/she might learn best by reading books and articles. Some read/write learners understand information better after taking notes or making personalized flashcards.
If your child is a kinesthetic learner, it might be helpful to sit on an exercise ball or walk around the room while reading or listening to something new.
Obviously, our kids DO have to learn how to sit still for some occasions, but add in as many movement breaks as possible for your kinesthetic kids, such as running sprints in the yard before sitting down to do homework.
Tactile learners use their hands and like to take things apart, put things together, build with blocks, and use fidget tools while they are listening or watching something. If your child is a tactile learner, he/she might learn best through sensory-type experiences, hands-on learning, and having something small to hold onto/manipulate during story time and oral lessons.
Let’s take a minute to catch our breath and consider what we’ve talked about so far. Did any of these learning styles or strategies jump out at you?
I have been a read/write learner from the day I learned how to read. I remember taking a science test in 5th grade and being able to visualize a page of the textbook to find the exact answer I was looking for.
Studying for an exam meant reading the book, taking notes in my own handwriting, and making flashcards with different-colored gel pens. Printed outlines and transcripts are still my best friend when I’m listening to a presentation.
Even putting these podcast episodes together — I have to type up an outline and write out what I want to say by hand before opening a new Google doc.
Thinking about how YOU learn best and how your children learn best will probably explain some homework battles or parenting struggles you’ve faced in the past.
If you are an auditory learner, you might verbally remind your child multiple times to take out the garbage or put their shoes away. A NON-auditory learner will probably not register what you’re asking them to do until you’re angry about it. Try writing a note or making a visual schedule that explains step-by-step what your child needs to do — and see if it makes a difference.
If your child can’t sit still during story time or a homeschool lesson, try setting out a busy box or a wiggle seat. Consider getting a second copy of the book or sitting next to your child so they can see the words and pictures, too.
Keep in mind: many behavior “issues” might actually be a difference in learning styles!
I’ve shared a variety of learning styles activities so far, but let’s talk about how to apply different learning style preferences to a common homework assignment: spelling words.
With your visual learner, use colored markers for a “rainbow writing” experience— or write each word on a different colored piece of paper/index card. (Try different things to see which one works best for your child.)
Auditory learners can learn spelling words with a custom song or rhythm.
Read/write learners might benefit from repeated writing throughout the week. Write the words on a dry-erase board, out on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, or use their favorite maker or pen. Letter stamps with a stamp pad or playdough might be another simple strategy for read/write!
For your kinesthetic learner, take spelling practice outside: jump up and down on a trampoline, make a hopscotch game on the driveway, etc.
If you have a tactile learner, make a salt tray for your child to write their words in. You could also put letter magnets on the fridge or make letters out of clay.
You may need to try a variety of things until you find a strategy that works for your child. They may also come up with something new, if you ask them what they would like to try!
Personally, I get dizzy watching my child walk around (and around) the kitchen table when she is reading, but the movement helps her concentrate and remember what she’s read. She’s not hurting anybody, so why not?
All right parents, it’s time for homework.
If you have a few minutes this week, I would love for you to pull out a piece of paper or journal, and reflect on these questions:
- What kinds of activities does your child like to do in their free time? Do they correspond with their learning style preferences?
- Which of these learning activities do you think your child would enjoy? Can you think of any others I should add to the list?
- Can you think of a parenting struggle that might be caused by a learning style mismatch?
You can head to rollingprairiereaders.com/episode4 to download a copy of these questions and a chart of learning styles activities you can print off for your fridge.
Thank you for listening to this week’s episode, and thank you for supporting Learn Their Way!
Be sure to tune in next time as we talk about attention issues!