If you talk to your six-month-old baby about circles and triangles, you'll no doubt receive a blank stare. But if you show her pictures of one shape and then the other, the blank stare will be replaced with intense concentration. These rudimentary observations of similarities and differences provide the basis from which children learn to recognize numbers, letters, and eventually words.
Howard Gardner, founding father of the Multiple Intelligences Theory, has suggested that all people possess at least eight different intelligences. These intelligences operate in varying degrees depending on the individual. Visual learners rely primarily on their sense of sight to take in information. Because they think in terms of images, they have keen powers of observation and are acutely aware of everything in their environment. Has your child ever reminded you of something you did even when you thought he wasn't paying attention? Has she remembered the route to a friend's house after going there only once? Visual learners seem to take in everything. They may notice particular clothing that people wear, may be intrigued by certain colors or shapes and can describe in detail the cement mixer that you passed earlier that day. As we go about our busy day, these children are quietly and consistently collecting data. They enjoy visual order and may even have very particular preferences about organizing their toys and belongings. Some visual learners may be distracted by background noise, movement, and touch and may prefer a quiet environment when working on puzzles or artwork.
Some of the traits that will tip you off that your child is primarily a visual learner:
- loves watching you and other people in his environment
- tuned into body language and expressions
- has an active imagination
- enjoys writing and forming letters
- aware of signs and labels
- good at comparing shapes and letters
- enjoys drawing and painting
- observant, points out things of interest
- enjoys looking at books for long periods of time
- enjoys sorting objects, stacking blocks, LEGOs