How to Tailor Your Lessons to Kids’ Learning Styles

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Want to know how to conquer kids’ learning obstacles? If after
every lesson your kids can say, “We came, we saw, we heard, we
touched,” they’ll also be able to say, “We conquered!”

Kids experience their world through their senses, and each child
has a favored sense that sends more information to the brain than
the other senses.

The three primary perceptual preferences or “learning styles” are
visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

By understanding these three learning styles, you can create
lessons that’ll give all your children a better chance of

*Characteristics-Visual learners need to see or observe
things closely. Visual learners recognize words by sight, remember
faces but forget names, take notes, make lists, have vivid
imaginations and think in pictures. Visual learners express emotion
through facial expressions.

Jonna is a visual learner. She’s distracted by visual disorder or
movement and prefers a neat, meticulous environment. She doesn’t
talk at length and becomes impatient when she has to listen for a
long time. While her teacher lectures, Jonna will stare, daydream
or doodle.

*Lesson Design-In every lesson, provide pictorial or
graphic representations and demonstrations. Allow visual learners
to read and look at illustrations, charts and other visual aids.
Don’t just tell kids about a topic, but allow them to also read
about it.

*Characteristics-Auditory learners learn best by reading
aloud or listening. Auditory learners remember things they hear
better than things they see. These students move their lips or
subvocalize as they talk out situations and problems. They hum and
are easily distracted by sounds. They remember names by auditory
repetition but forget faces. Auditory learners express emotion
verbally through changes in tone, volume and pitch of voice.

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Brad is an auditory learner. He often talks to others during class
because, even though he enjoys listening, he can’t wait to talk.
Brad enjoys the sound of his own voice.

*Lesson Design-Provide opportunities for kids to listen
to oral reading or a taped presentation. Ask questions and form
group discussions to get these kids talking. Encourage dramatic
presentations or role-plays. Always read aloud any

*Characteristics-Kelly is a kinesthetic learner. She sits
at the front of a group so she can touch the object of the lesson.
In a line, Kelly is frequently told to “keep your hands to
yourself!” Kinesthetic learners enjoy touching or doing things.
These children aren’t attentive to visual or auditory presentations
and so seem distracted.

Kinesthetic learners attack problems physically, impulsively
trying things out-touching, feeling and manipulating. When bored,
they fidget or find reasons to move. When happy, they jump for joy.
When angry, they stomp off.

*Lesson Design-Structure “real-life” situations such as
field trips and allow kids to make things. Give these kids objects
to touch or feel what they’re learning about. Make lessons active
by having kids play educational games or run relays.

Joyce Platek works with children in Ohio.

Copyright© 1992 Group Publishing, Inc. / Children’s Ministry

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