VAK Learning StylesYou’ve probably seen the opposite of this three wise monkeys image numerous times. In fact, it’s been around for at least 400 years. Learning styles reflect a similar concept. But, contrary to popular belief, learning styles aren’t so much a way to identify how to put things in into your mind, but more of a filing system to help you retrieve things you’ve learned as quickly as possible. Your child will still need to have a well-rounded understanding of the subject matter, which means absorbing it through visual, auditory and kinesthetic modalities whenever possible…but he can use his preferred “shorthand” to file it in a way that he can pull it out as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

Why is this important? Most tests (including the standardized, high-stakes variety) are timed. So every edge you can give your child to help pull out the knowledge he has worked so hard to learn is important.

Think back on your last vacation. What do you remember first? What you saw? What you heard? What you felt or did? You took in memories through all your senses, but one sense resurfaced fastest. Similarly, your child will remember one aspect of a concept first/fastest.

If a child relates to the world by the way it SOUNDS…and talks about what they HEARD more than what they saw or felt, the student naturally prefers to recall information AUDIBLY.

If Your Child Learns Best By Hearing…

  • Encourage your child to read study materials aloud to help commit the information to memory.
  • Talk to your child’s teacher about allowing him to record lectures instead of taking notes so that he can dedicate full attention to his predominant learning modality.
  • Help your child put conceptual lyrics to rhythms or familiar tunes whenever possible (e.g., Mary Had a Little Lamb for “I before E except after C except when said ‘ay’ as in neighbor and weigh”). Tools like Flocabulary can be particularly effective in this vein.
  • Talk through the “big picture” of an assignment with your child before putting pen to paper.
  • Arrange study groups with other students prior to exams and quizzes to allow your child to both hear and talk about the concepts that the test will cover.
  • LearningAlly offers a wide array of textbooks as MP3s and can be helpful for auditory learners like your child, as does Audible.

To Learn More About Why We Feel Cognitive Style Preferences Are Important, Click Here →