As a parent, you naturally want to provide the best learning experience for your child. You’ve doubtless heard a lot about the various learning styles and how they might impact how your child learns, but you also might wonder how much of it is relevant to your situation.
If your child is sailing through learning reading and math, likely not much of the learning styles discussion would impact you and your family.
However, if your child is struggling with reading and/or math, looking at learning styles might be important. In particular, visual-spatial learners tend to face learning difficulties because traditional curricula are designed for a different type of learner.
Although every child has their own learning strengths and differences, here are some questions to consider in determining whether or not your child learns most naturally through visual-spatial methods.*
Characteristics of a visual-spatial learner
1. Does your child seem to intuit and care about what others are feeling?
2. Does your child seem to forget what you tell him?
3. Does he seem to recall well what he sees?
4. Does she frequently lose track of time?
5. Does he seem talented in art, music, dance, or drama?
6. Does she seem disorganized?
7. Does he have trouble with spelling?
8. Does she have trouble remembering phonics rules?
9. Does he seem to remember how to get places he’s only been to one time?
10. Does your child like to construct things?
11. Does she like to figure out how things work (taking them apart?)
12. Can your child visualize objects from different perspectives? (This one might be hard to know unless you ask specifically.)
13. Does your child frequently visualize things? Example: does he frequently see one thing and say “Oh, that looks like a _____________” ?
14. Does he start laughing during a conversation because a combination of words reminded him of a funny picture in his head?
Example: I just came across this recipe heading: "How to Make Chocolate Bark: For many of us, chocolate is enough. But when you add the satisfying crunch of nuts and sweet morsels of dried fruit, that's a whole other story. Now we're talking real goodness."
Instantly this image popped into my head:
15. Does your child seem to know things without being able to tell you why or how? Can she solve a problem without being able to tell the steps she took to get to the solution?
16. Is your child good at puzzles or mazes?
17. Does your child solve problems in unusual ways? In other words, once you tell him what the goal is, does he arrive at that goal in unexpected ways?
18. Does she have a vivid imagination?
19. Does your child have at least one parent that would answer “yes” to many of the questions above?
If many of these descriptions remind you of your child, then most likely he or she is a visual-spatial learner.
For every concept you are working on at home with your child, let him illustrate it for himself. If it is sight words he needs to learn, please don’t just drill him with flashcards! Give him time to write each word on a card and illustrate it. Child1st has also created many resources to meet the needs of visual-spatial learners. One of our favorites for parents who want to give their children that extra boost in reading and confidence is the SnapWords® 306 Teaching Cards Kit.
If you have a visual-spatial learner, enjoy! As long as you don’t try and make them conform to standards they cannot hope to achieve, what you will have is a happy, creative, amazing child!
*Questions based on a quiz from Golon, A. S. (2004). Raising Topsy-Turvy Kids: Successfully Parenting Your Visual-Spatial Child. Denver: DeLeon Publishing.