If somebody were to give you driving directions to a place, and you drew a map while listening to the person telling you the directions, which would you recall when going there:
– the act of drawing the map?
– pictures in your head based on their description?
– the words they said to describe the directions?
Is a learning style a learning disability?
A learning style is not a learning disability. It is simply a difference in the way a person learns information. There are many theories about learning styles, but the 3 most-accepted learning styles are:
– Visual-spatial learner
– Auditory-linguistic learner
– Kinesthetic-tactile learner
Everybody has a combination of all these learning styles, but generally each individual will have a strong preference for one of the 3. This preference is determined by our genetic makeup and how our brain is wired.
I remember asking my sister the driving directions question above. She said she hears the person giving her the directions, as if she has a tape in her head. She clearly has a strong auditory learning style. I on the other hand will see pictures in my mind, as if I had already driven to the place. I clearly have a strong visual learning style. Others may actually re-draw the map in the air to recall the directions. They would have a kinesthetic learning style.
Schools cater to auditory-linguistic style.
According to the University of Illinois, only 10% of school-aged children have an auditory learning style, yet 80% of the materials are presented in an auditory fashion. 50% of school-aged children have a kinesthetic learning style while 40% learn best visually.
Visual and kinesthetic learners are often slower to grasp concepts since they are not taught using their learning strengths. As a result, challenges can show up in all areas of academics and can sometimes look like a learning disability.
How Easyread helps the visual child learn to read.
A child can learn to develop one of the learning styles that is not their natural strength. So a child who is visual can strengthen the auditory and kinesthetic approaches, or a child who is auditory can strengthen the visual and kinesthetic approaches.
This is exactly how Easyread helps a child to read. Children who are sight readers are strong visual learners, often memorizing whole words as if they are pictures. But their brain then bypasses the auditory centers when reading, and when faced with an unknown word, they do not know how to sound it out. We call this Optilexia.
Children identified as having dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, or having reading difficulties, are often seen to have a visual learning style and are often identified as having an auditory deficit. This means they need to see information in order to understand it. Learning in an auditory fashion is often confusing and difficult, which is why learning to read, an auditory-intensive activity, is so difficult for them.
To help this reading challenge, Easyread uses that visual style to strengthen the auditory component of reading. The system uses visual images to represent sounds, which the child uses to learn the auditory act of decoding (sounding out) the words. With a 95% success rate, Easyread has helped 1000s of children learn to read with this method.
How can I identify my child’s learning style preference?
The best way to identify learning styles is to have an assessment with an educational psychologist. But sometimes you will just know based on how the child presents information to you:
– Auditory strength: They may repeat verbatim words they have heard or movie lines they have heard.
– Visual strength: They may have the ability to remember visual details with great accuracy.
– Kinesthetic strength: They may use their hands and body a lot when describing an experience, especially acting it out.
You can actually take the free Learning Style Assessment on the Ithaca College website to discover learning style preferences.
Bonnie Landau is the Marketing Director for the Easyread System, an online phonics course designed to help a child to read through short daily lessons on the computer. For more information, visit www.easyreadsystem.com or www.facebook.com/easyreadsystem.