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What is your child's learning style?

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Note: "Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for Raising Successful Children" is a free syndicated column from The Parent Institute.

[AUG. 23, 2005]  Q: I have been hearing about different learning styles. My daughter has just started school, and I would like to know how you can recognize someone's learning style.

A. Great question! There's no "best" way to learn, but by discovering your child's learning style, you can go a long way toward helping her achieve success.
  • Does your child listen to stories for hours? Then she's probably an auditory learner. She learns best when she can listen. You can help her by repeating math facts or spelling words aloud.

  • Does your child prefer to see things written down? That's a sign that she's a visual learner. Help her learn to make charts or pictures. Post spelling words on the mirror or the refrigerator.

  • Does your child touch everything in sight? Does she take things apart to see how they work? She's probably a kinesthetic, tactile learner. She needs hands-on learning. Let her put on a play to show you what she learned in history.

Here's a strategy you can use at home to determine your child's learning style. Get a dictionary and find 15 words that are new to your child. Write down the words and their definitions. Now make three lists of five words each.

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  • On the first day, give your child one list and tell her to learn the words with her eyes. She can study them and copy them over as much as she likes.

  • On the second day, give your child a second list and tell her to learn the words with her ears. She should read the words and definitions out loud and listen as carefully as she can.

  • On the third day, give your child the third list and tell her to learn the words with her hands and body. She should try to act them out or perhaps move to music in a way that makes her think of the word's meaning.

Then talk with her about which set of words she now thinks she understands best. Is it the "seeing" words, the "listening" words or the "doing" words? Whichever she chooses probably represents her best learning style. Encourage her to use this style when doing homework and studying.

[The Parent Institute]

For more information about helping children learn or to submit your own question, go to All questions will receive a prompt answer by e-mail.

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