What kind of learner is your child?

Understanding your learning style can help you to learn your spellings!

This article was blogged about by a colleague of mine in Lisburn, Northern Ireland and I thought I would share.  To read the original blog go to http://kipmcgrathlisburn.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/what-kind-of-learner-are-you/

Learning to spell can be very difficult for some people.  Time, patience and practice all help!  There are many ways of practising spellings and what works for one person might not work as well for another.    Many children rely heavily on one strategy to learn their weekly spellings as a list and use them in their own writing.  Some children learn effectively in this way, but for many children one way of learning is not enough because they memorise words for the test and then forget them later or struggle to learn the words in the first place.  Most people will find that a multi-sensory method works best, i.e. using senses like eyes, ears, voice and hands.

Look at the following learning styles and see if you recognise your own or the one that best describes your child.

Visual learners:

  • Neat and orderly
  • Speak quickly
  • Are good long range planners
  • Good spellers and can see words in their minds
  • Remember what was seen, rather than heard
  • Are not distracted by noise
  • May forget verbal instructions unless written down
  • Are strong fast readers
  • Would rather read than be read to
  • Doodle during conversations
  • Forget to relay verbal messages to others

Auditory learners:

  • Learn by listening and remember what was     discussed rather than seen
  • Talk to themselves while working
  • Are easily distracted by noise
  • Find writing difficult, but are better at telling
  • Move their lips and pronounce the words as they read
  • Enjoy reading aloud and listening
  • Are talkative, love discussions and go into lengthy descriptions
  • Can spell better out loud than in writing

Kinaesthetic learners:

  • Learn by manipulating and doing
  • Want to act things out
  • Speak slowly
  • Touch people to get their attention
  • Stand close when talking to someone
  • Are physically orientated and move a lot, gesture a lot
  • Memorise by walking and seeing
  • Can’t remember geography unless they’ve actually been there
  • Use action words
  • May have messy handwriting
  • Like involved games

It is highly likely that the majority of children will exhibit some aspects of more than one learning style.  However, if you feel that your child shows a particular learning style, try the activities in the appropriate section below.  If no one style is obvious, try a few activities from each section and see which is most successful.

Suggested activities for the different learning styles:

Visual learners will want to learn by:

  • Looking at words and noticing patterns
  • Saying or repeating words
  • Listening to syllables
  • Copying or tracing words
  • Look Say Cover Write and Check words
  • Writing a word in the air using a finger or a wand
  • Writing a word on your back
  • Writing in large felt tip pens
  • Posting notes around the house
  • How many words can you find in this word?
  • Flash cards of spellings

Auditory learners will want to learn by:

  • Speaking aloud or saying it strangely e.g. weather becomes we-at-her
  • Singing spellings
  • Breaking words down in parts
  • Recording their spellings onto tape
  • Rhythms and tapping to spellings
  • Follow me – you say it, they say it
  • Saying spellings as a ‘rap’

Kinaesthetic learners will want to learn by:

  • Writing in sand or sugar
  • Feeling you spell the words on their backs
  • Making words with pipe cleaners
  • Making words with play dough or clay
  • Visualising letters as picture clues that link into a story
  • Mnemonic – make a silly sentence/draw pictures e.g. SAID becomes:  Sad  Ants  In  Dustbins
  • Writing using different colours

Whatever you choose to do, learning spellings can seem a boring process when it requires so much effort from a child.  Make it as much FUN as possible by using a variety of materials and activities.

By Clare Rimmer, Centre Director, Kip McGrath Education Centre – Lisburn

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