Learning Styles and Learning and Reading Strategies

Is your child an auditory, tactile, or visual learner? Knowing which type of learner your student is can help you recommend strategies to help him or her comprehend and remember what he or she has read.

Auditory Learners do better in academic subjects and retain information better when it is presented in a lecture format and would actually rather listen to a lecture or a speech than read for information. Auditory learners find repeating the spellings of words out loud the most effective way to learn to spell. When presented with a diagram, graph, or map, an auditory learner would prefer that it be accompanied by verbal directions and follows oral directions better than written ones. Therefore, it probably is not surprising that auditory learners prefer listening to news on the radio to reading about it and are quite skilled at identifying matching sounds when presented with sets of sound.

Tactile learners prefer to learn by doing. They like making posters, constructing models, practicing skills, and other active classroom activities. When stillness and quiet are called for, they often learn better if they can grip objects in their hands during the learning period. Likewise, tactile learners prefer to chew gum or snack when they study. They remember things when they can write them down repeatedly, and often learn spelling best by finger-spelling the words on the tabletop or in the air. Tactile learners enjoy working with their hands and making things, and often play with coins or keys or other small objects. Of all kinds of learners, tactile learners are the most comfortable touching others, hugging, shaking hands, etc.

Visual learners prefer to see information written on the chalk or white board or otherwise supplemented by visual aids and reading. In fact, reading is the visual learner’s favorite way of obtaining information. This kind of learner likes to write things down, often takes notes for later review, and thinks the best way to remember something is to picture it in your head. Visual learners are skillful in using and enjoy making graphs and charts. They understand news and current events better by reading about them than listening to the radio. Visual learners easily understand and follow directions on maps, and are good at working and solving jigsaw puzzles and mazes.

So, once you’ve identified what kind of learner your student is, how do you help him or her succeed in the classroom?

Your auditory student will learn best by talking about their topics of study, interviewing others about it, debating, discussing, asking and answering questions, memorizing and making oral reports.

Strategies to help your auditory learner read include teaching them phonics, taking part in choral reading (You can read together!), listening to stories and recordings of books, discussing what he or she has read, and reading out loud to him or herself.

Your tactile student will learn best by doodling and sketching as he or she takes in information, playing educational games, building models, dioramas, relief maps, etc., setting up experiments, writing or tracing.

Strategies to help your tactile learner read include writing and tracing methods, playing games involving reading, and reading instructions and using them to make something. This student will demonstrate his or her understanding of  what is read best by crafting related artifacts.

Your visual student will learn best by reading, using computer graphics, performing visual puzzles, looking at or designing maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, cartoons, posters, and bulletin boards.

Strategies to help your visual learner read include sight methods, comparing dissimilar words, silent reading, vocabulary acquisition that includes pictures or graphics, viewing or reading stories in a video or graphic format.

Identify your children’s styles and help them learn and grow.