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Helping Children Learn

Did you study with the stero blasting and still get A's, while your sibling needed absolute silence? Can yu take verbal directions in an instant and follow them exactly, while someone else you know needs to write everything down or have something explained in detail?

These differences have nothing to do with intelligence, but everything to do with LEARNINF STYLES. Discovering and understanding your own learning style along with your child's personal learning style can help you structure a home environment that will maximize your child's abilities.

Learning style has been defined as the way in which an individual student learns most efficiently. Researchers have shown that when lesson presentation and study skills are geared to a student's learning style, more learning takes place in a shorter time.



If your child has always loved to sit still and listen to stories, chances are he or she is an AUDITORY LEARNER, who can probably understand and remember material better if it is verbalized. The auditory learner doesn't get impatient when the teacher talks for long periods of time, can remember complicated verbal directions, and enjoys listening to stories read aloud. If your child is an auditory learner, you can help with homework by repeating multiplication facts or spelling words aloud.

The VISUAL LEARNER, on the other hand, needs to see something written down or illustrated in order to remember it. The visual learner often makes pictures, charts, or illustrations to help organize and remember material.

If you child has to touch everything in sight, take it apart and see how it works, the chances are he or she is a KINESTHETIC/TACTILE LEARNER, a hands-on learner who needs to personally experience things, and not just read or hear about them from others. This child will usually emjoy doing group work and sharing learning with others.
Most successful learners are not restricted to a particular learning style. They use all of their senses, often compensating for weaknesses in some areas with stregths in others. Recognize that you and your child may have entirely different learning styles. If you are going to help with homework, be sensitive to his or her unique learning style. Don't let battles over homework divide your family.


Experiment with different types of study techniques to see which ones are most effective with your child. If a child needs to visualize ideas in order to learn them, help the child learn to diagram and draw pictures. If the need is to experience things is a hands-on way, try writing spelling words in sand--or in the air. If the need is to hear spoken material, try tape-recording textbook assignments. If a child thrives on hands-on activities and creative projects, try to build suitable learning opportunities into the family schedule. Buy puzzles, games, models, and kits that make learning meaningful for that child.

Celebrate your children's strengths. Get them involved in hobbies and outside activities that use their learning styles, talents, and abilities to the best advantage. Have fun learning!

Peggy Christiansen, Principal
Binkley School

Read the next parenting article on preparing kids to go to school >>
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