Did you know that not everyone learns the same way?
Of course, you may be thinking. Some people learn easily and some don’t. But in fact it’s much more complicated than that! Some people learn easily by reading, but can’t process what you just said to them. Some people can remember a conversation or a television documentary almost word-for-word, but get lost when they’re trying to read the very same information. And some people don’t benefit from either printed or verbal directions – “Just show me how to do it,” they say, and when you demonstrate, they’ve got it.
If you know how your child learns, you can do a much better job of helping him with his homework. For example, if you know your child has a hard time processing or retaining what he reads, he might understand it better if he reads it aloud – or if you read it to them.
If, on the other hand, it’s hard for your child to understand verbal directions or follow the thread of a conversation or lesson, have them take notes they can look at. And if your child is having a hard time grasping an abstract concept like multiplication, make three rows of four sugar packets and demonstrate how 3 x 4 = 12.
Can you make your visual learner an auditory learner, or vice versa? No, not really. But you can help your children recognize when a lesson is being taught in a style that doesn’t work for them, and you can teach him techniques – like list-making, or manipulating sugar packets – to process the same information in a way that will stick.
Your local library will have books on learning styles so you can learn more. And don’t be afraid to ask your child’s teacher. Teachers today are very aware of various learning styles and multiple forms of intelligence that their students have, and they will be happy to give you suggestions on how to work with your particular child.
Every child learns a little bit differently, and it’s not a matter of “learning slowly” versus being “a fast learner.” Once you’ve discovered how your child learns, you will be able to help that child succeed.
Karen Bernardo is the Director of the Coburn Free Library in Owego. Bring your preschoolers to the library on Wednesday mornings at 10:15 a.m. for story hour, and give them a great foundation to grow on!