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Education

When my son was learning his letters in preschool, he enjoyed putting together an alphabet puzzle with me. After completing the puzzle, we would often play a game with wooden alphabet blocks. Fast forward three years to the present day where my preschool daughter is now learning her letters. She prefers to listen to alphabet books and trace the letters while I read. She loves grabbing a piece of construction paper and writing random letters until they fill the whole sheet.

Is one style of teaching letters better than the other? Not if the end result is the same, in that both kids ultimately learned the alphabet. Identifying the preferred learning style can be helpful in building confidence and success in your child.

But how do you determine your child's learning style? Howard Gardner, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, identified nine multiple intelligences in individuals. As you read through the list, begin thinking about what learning style(s) your child most identifies with.

Intelligence

Learning Style

Preferred Activities

Spatial

Prefers to use pictures, images, and visual understanding

Drawing, art, visualizing, playing with Legos, designing

Musical

Prefers to use sound, music and rhythm

Singing, listening, playing instruments

Linguistic

Prefers to use words, both in speech and writing

Reading, writing, telling stories, word play

Bodily-Kinesthetic

Prefers to use body, hands, and sense of touch

Drama, movement, sports, building, hands-on learning

Logical-Mathematical

Prefers to use logic, reasoning and systems

Puzzles, experiments, science lessons

Interpersonal

Prefers to learn in groups or with other people

Friends, group projects, social activities, clubs

Intrapersonal

Prefers to work alone and use self-study

Working independently, choices, quiet time

Naturalist

Prefers the natural elements

Plants, animals, weather

Existential

Prefers to question human existence

Deep questions, reflecting on meaning of life

 

After reviewing the list, it is easy to see that your child most likely identifies with more than one intelligence. Perhaps there is a predominant trait along with a few smaller attributes. Gardner noted that just as no two fingerprints are the same, no two individuals have the same learning modalities.

How to identify learning styles and what to do with the results

1. Take a survey
Educator Laura Candler offers a free Multiple Intelligence Survey for Kids (and directions) on her blog. http://www.lauracandler.com/strategies/multipleintelligences.php

2. Share information with teachers
A current trend in education these days is schools sending parents a learning style questionnaire to fill out at the beginning of the year. These letters encourage parents to write down what type of learning style their child best adheres with. If you do not receive something like this, write a note based on the survey results and send it to your child's teacher. Teachers must meet the needs of 20-plus students, and helping the teacher identify the learning style of your child can help your student be successful from the beginning of the school year.

3. Incorporate learning styles at home
At home, be sure to incorporate preferred learning styles into activities. Games are a great way to incorporate learning (and fun) as a family while meeting a learning style need. Have a child who leans more towards the spatial intelligence? Jenga would be a great choice. Another child enjoys more linguistic learning? Scrabble and Boggle would fit that child's needs.

Kerry Pinto is a former educator and administrator taking a break from teaching while her kiddos are little. She lives in Stafford.

 

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Pouches' Community Corner

This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

keepsake box

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.

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