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Have you noticed that schools are a-changing? Do you feel more and more out of touch with what is going on? This is great news for our kids. It is because teachers are more aware of the differences in the way children learn than ever. Remember the kid who would swing on their chair all the time or click their pen throughout class? They would no longer be seen as being naughty, but as being one of the approx 5% of learners who learn through movement. Today’s teachers are modifying their teaching style to suit all learners. There is much less chalk n talk, far fewer stencils and text books. Teachers are also modifying their learning spaces and environment to suit the children’s learning needs.

Understanding how your child learns best is of great benefit to them and to you.

There are 3 main learning styles:

1. Visual (approx 65% of kids fall into this category)

2. Auditory (approx 30% of kids)

3. Kinaesthetic (approx 5% of kids)

Visual learners learn when they are shown something. They love to watch the teacher and can absorb information well from books, maps, videos, diagrams and pictures. Visual learners often take notes. They are interested in puzzles and manipulative toys such as Lego. How can you help your visual learner capitalise on their learning style at home? Ask them to draw pictures to help them remember facts. Write down key facts in point form, in a flow chart or Venn diagram. Using flash cards is helpful. Buy them a highlighter and ask them to highlight important pieces of information.

Auditory learners learn through listening. They love to talk and being involved in discussion. How you can help your auditory learner? Encourage them to make up jingles to memorise facts, mnemonics and find audio books to listen to as they follow the words on the page. Allow them to talk through what they have been learning.

Kinaesthetic learners learn through movement and touching. These children may not be able to sit still. They love to touch and manipulate objects. They have to be ‘doing’ something as they learn. How you can help? Allow them to wander around as they read. Encourage them to act their spelling words out. Have them use magnetic letters, scrabble letters and playdough to form words or use counters for counting. Writing their spelling words out in flour on a tray can be a fun way of helping them learn. There are lots of options rather than getting frustrated with their disinterest in writing their spelling list out with a pen.

Not all of us learn in the same way and you may find that each of your children are different, or some may be a little of each. Helping your child learn through their learning style will make it much easier for them to retain information. You should find that it reduces frustration and increases enjoyment of learning – for everyone! :) This was first written for Kidspot in 2011 for their Buddies Bright Ideas page

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