Children's learning styles vary. Learning styles are typically described under three basic categories: kinesthetic, visual, and auditory. All new information comes into the brain through the five senses, and each one of us has preferred modes of processing that information.
Although most young children are very tactile and learn best through hands-on activities, some may also be intrigued with the spoken word and music. Children who have auditory strengths enjoy listening to what others have to say. They like different tones and pitches—particularly when listening to stories—and they take great joy in silly rhymes and songs. They often have well-developed vocabularies and may surprise you with what they remember. Has your three- or four-year-old ever arrived home from preschool spouting words like "stupendous" or "superlative"? He may not know the exact meanings of these words, but chances are he's heard the word in a story and enjoys the sound and rhythm of repetition. Auditory learners may also have strong oral communication skills that allow them to carry on articulate conversations.
Some of the following traits will tip you off that your child is primarily an auditory learner:
- he enjoys listening to and participating in conversations
- she seems to remember by talking out loud
- he likes to have things explained
- she loves to play with words and repeat sounds
- she talks to herself while learning something new
- he enjoys listening to music
- she may be easily distracted by voices and music
- he sings, hums, and whistles to himself
- she uses advanced vocabulary and sentence structure
- he has quick recall of names
Although we live in a world full of sound, we are so bombarded with words and music that sometimes we "tune out" subconsciously. To help children who are just beginning to acquire language and learn about their world, it's important to minimize background noise and provide specific listening opportunities. Turn off the television unless you're actually watching a program. Alternate children's music with some classical or rhythm and blues. Take your child to a live concert. Let him try playing a musical instrument. Balance silence with sounds.