Teaching study skills doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you know your child’s learning style. Excellent study skills increase your child’s confidence and self-esteem and can help them succeed in school. The right strategies for studying can’t be stressed enough!
Teachers provide guidance to your children in the classroom. How can you help them study and learn at home?
Once you create and organize a dedicated study space for your learner, you are ready to assist them with learning at home in a way that’s best for them. That depends on what type of learning style suits their personality.
VARK: A Guide to Learning Styles
VARK is an acronym that stands for Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic. It assumes all individuals have preferred methods of receiving and interpreting information. If you can tap into your own child’s preferred method of learning, you can use that information to determine which study skills might benefit your child.
The idea of personalized learning styles became popular in the 70s. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume your child falls into one of the four main learning styles: Visual (Spatial), Aural (Auditory), Verbal (Linguistic), or Physical (Kinesthetic). It’s possible for a child to have a dominant learning style and a secondary learning style.
Your child can take an online assessment to discover what type of learning style best fits their personality. A simple internet query yields dozens of tests. For the most part, they measure the same things.
One of the most important ways of setting your child up for success in and out of the classroom is understanding how they learn best. Once you’ve determined the way your child takes in information, you can develop strategies for studying.
Strategies for Studying: Visual Learners
A visual learner is someone who learns best through visual means. They prefer looking at things to absorb information.
Some study strategies to help your visual learner:
- Demonstrate or find an instructional YouTube video so your child can “see” how something is done.
- Use notepads, Post-Its, and to-do lists. Encourage your child to incorporate white space into their notes to enhance the look of written material on the paper. Remember: Your child learns best by visualizing new information.
- Use imagery, outlines, and clustering strategies.
- Ask your child to design photo essays or mindmaps in order to look at the information in a more visual way.
- Instruct your child to underline and highlight in different colors.
- Draw symbols, graphs, or pictures throughout their lecture notes.
- Create fun acronyms on paper.
Pro Tip: One thing that helps visual learners is to sit in the front of the classroom in order to avoid distractions. When your visual learner studies at home, you should make sure their study space isn’t placed in a high traffic area or put near a window. For a visual learner, any activity will be a distraction.
What You Can Have on Hand to Help Your Visual Learner
- Hang a large white board or keep a wipe & erase board nearby.
- Provide your visual learner with lots of books with images, charts, and diagrams.
- Purchase a blank comic strip panel book. These are inexpensive and super helpful for visual people. Make up stories filled with science and social studies facts and incorporate them into comics. Accompany the facts with fun drawings and character thought bubbles.
- Encourage your child to make Powerpoint or other multimedia presentations. The night before an exam or quiz, ask them to talk you through the presentation they made.
- Flashcard games like States & Capitals or math flashcards help early learners.
- Make study time more visual by creating easy puzzles, games, and crafts centered on learning material. Crosswords and word searches are helpful, too! These aids aren’t just for young learners. There are plenty of puzzles, games, and activity books for teens as well.
Strategies for Studying: Auditory Learners
Auditory learners take in new information through their ears.
A while back, I talked about the benefits of audiobooks for kids of all ages. Audiobooks are a fantastic way to help students learn better by hearing information rather than reading it.
Some study strategies to help your auditory learner:
- Read your child’s notes out loud to them, or ask them to read them out loud to you.
- Record lectures or record your child reading their notes.
- Watch videos together. Khan Academy and YouTube are perfect for this.
- Use mnemonics, rhymes, and jingles to get things to “stick” in your child’s head.
- Verbally brainstorm. Encourage your auditory learner to think out loud.
- Ask your child to close their eyes and repeat facts out loud. Repetition is key here!
- Sings your child’s notes to them. Make up fun raps or poems.
- For tweens and teens, motivate them to work in groups or find study buddies.
Pro Tip: Auditory learners need quiet space to study. During homework time, make sure they are removed from all noise.
What You Can Have on Hand to Help Your Auditory Learner
- Visit your local library to get audiobooks! Or consider a monthly subscription to Audible.
- If you aren’t able to provide a quiet study space for your child, consider investing in some quality noise-canceling headphones to filter out some of the background noise. Your child will likely need good headphones for school, but you ought to have some in your home for any video or computer work.
- Lyric-free classical music can improve the attention span of auditory learners.
- There are thousands of podcasts out there for children, tweens, and teens. If you’re looking for enrichment, this is the way to go!
- If your child has difficulties focusing in class with all the noise, invest in a good recorder. Reach out to your child’s teacher and let them know your child will be recording the lectures.
Strategies for Studying: Verbal Learners
Verbal learners take in new information through language, reading, and writing. The traditional textbook and annotation process works well for verbal learning.
Some study strategies to help your verbal learner:
- Encourage your child to read directions twice.
- Help your child sharpen their note-taking skills.
- Instruct your child to reread chapters in their textbooks. Then have them restate the lessons in their own words.
- Teach them how to put abstract concepts into words.
- Ask your child to condense and rephrase the information in their notes. This helps them further absorb it.
- Use rhymes, acronyms, and short stories to memorize facts and information.
- Refer your child to articles or blog posts they can look up and read on their own time.
Pro Tip: If your verbal learner struggles with a lesson, encourage them to meet one-on-one with their teacher. That way the teacher can rephrase the lesson in a way your student can understand.
What You Can Have on Hand to Help Your Verbal Learner
- Books, books, and more books! Frequent trips to the library are a must for verbal learners.
- Keep lots of blank journals and notebooks on hand for your child to use for writing.
- Verbal learners do well with workbooks, flashcards, and crosswords.
- Keep word games like Boggle and Bananagrams in your home.
- Supply your child with poster board and tri-folds so they can make presentations for you.
- Verbal learners do well with math story problems.
Strategies for Studying: Kinesthetic Learners
Kinesthetic learners take in information best by doing. These kids are hands-on learners!
Some study strategies to help your kinesthetic learner:
- Use manipulative study strategies when you help your child. Examples: make maps, timelines, charts, graphs, and models. Keeping their hands busy is important!
- Ask your child to clap out facts.
- Have your child count on fingers when reviewing information.
- Encourage your kinesthetic learner to use body movement to increase attention span. For instance, let them pace as you help them go over their notes.
- Tell your child to study in a rocking chair.
- Take plenty of study breaks! Physical learners don’t like sitting still for long periods of time. Break study sessions into 20-30 minutes blocks and allow for breaks.
- Instruct your child to do light exercises (like jumping jacks) as they repeat facts aloud.
- Motivate your child to make note-taking engaging by adding in doodles or creating illustrations that reflect new information.
- Do lots of hands-on activities together–experiments, field trips, role-playing games, projects, educational games, etc.
Pro Tip: Have your physical learner “teach” you a lesson. Let them stand in front of you and move as much as they want as they relay recently learned information to you. By teaching (or showing) you what they’ve studied, it will further increase memorization.
What You Can Have on Hand to Help Your Kinesthetic Learner
- Keep a large chalkboard or wipe and erase board in your home. This way, your child can draw diagrams, charts, and timelines that will benefit their studies.
- For elementary-age children, an abacus works well for early math practice. For middle and high school students, taking practice quizzes on Quizlet is a big confidence booster.
- Objects like fidget cubes, fidget spinners, squishy balls, and putty keep hands busy during learning.
- Chewing gum may help older kinesthetic learners to focus when they hit the books.
- Manipulatives like modeling clay and 3d pens keep things interesting and fun!
Teaching your child how to study doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you use the proper strategies for studying specific to your child’s learning style and needs.
Once you identify how they learn best, you can adopt some of the methods listed above. You can completely change the way your child studies. By the time your kiddo heads to college, they will have study skills to carry them all the way through graduation! I promise it’s that easy.
Do you have an insider’s strategy for studying you don’t see mentioned above? Please share in the comments below!
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