Different Child Learning Styles & How to Identify Them

Even at an early age, a child has a personal learning style that benefits them the most. For toddlers and preschoolers, there are three simple ways to classify learners: lookers, listeners, and movers. It’s important to discover the unique way that your child enjoys and prospers through their learning style to best encourage learning and development. Here are the details of each of the child learning styles and how to identify what fits your child best.

1. Lookers

Lookers tend to be on the quieter side and like to sit back and observe their environment. If your child is a looker, they are probably very observant and can often see things that others miss. They show organizational skills early on and like to have everything in its place.

Visual learners usually do not need a picture or instructions, but can learn quickly by watching others perform tasks. They will typically doodle but in a structured way. Another way to identify if your child is a looker is if they are easily distracted by TV or other things going on around them.

If your child is a looker, these are a few details to remember when helping them learn:

  • They tend to follow the leader and perform better if they see an example first.
  • They are taught best with books or pictures.

It is often beneficial to use visual aids when teaching children with a looker learning style. Try using flashcards, “how-to” books, posters, and videos. Keep in mind that children with this learning style often struggle with changes in curriculum, real-life application, and creative writing.

2. Listeners

If your child is a listener, they probably enjoy hearing themselves talk – and talk often. These children will often use singing and various noises for expression. They tend to remember songs, jingles, commercials, etc. with ease. If they have any problems, they will be more likely to want to talk about them. They will also tend to follow oral directions well and will remember specific directions easier than children with other learning styles.

If your child is a listener, keep these things in mind for optimal success in learning:

  • Auditory learners do best when directions or information are read aloud to them.
  • They excel in the memorization of rules, processes, plays, poems, etc.

Try using the following aids with these learners: podcasts, audiobooks, music, rhymes, rhythmic instruments, echo games, and field trips with auditory descriptions. Keep in mind that listeners often struggle with editing or redoing their work, with details in subjects like math, and with perseverance.

3. Movers

Movers learn through hands-on activity and play. They tend to relate to people through motion and touch, and they like to feel everything they engage with. Movers will often get in trouble for wanting to touch everything and anything.

These children often talk with a lot of gestures and facial expressions and like creating things like paper airplanes or fans out of their papers, rather than doodling on them. Children with this learning style often have good muscle coordination and dislike long processes or long periods of staying still. Movers respond best to a “pat on the back” or physical confirmation of accomplishment.

Movers will flourish best when these tactics are considered:

  • Being interactive in learning is the best way to help movers learn.
  • Give them the opportunity to demonstrate or model an activity or skill to other children.

For these children, it is best to use roleplay or short, dynamic presentations when able. When reading, they do best by following along with their finger as well. Try the following aids to assist learning: tracing motions (in air, on paper, or wall), tactile experiences (with sand, clay, water, etc.), textures, field trips, hands-on experiences, and math manipulatives (blocks, rods, chips, play money).

Monitoring Child Learning Styles

Early learning can be influenced and enhanced by utilizing child learning styles. It’s important to identify and monitor learning styles over time to optimize a child’s ability to learn. A child may start out as a mover and transition into a listener as their skills develop. A child can also be a blend of more than one style.

For example, they may learn best in most subjects through auditory teaching but learn best in math through visual learning. This is also a great thing to be able to tell your child’s teacher as they go through school to better personalize their experience and explain why they may have trouble learning in other ways.

Identifying and mastering child learning styles can benefit a child throughout the rest of their life. So, make a point to start early and tailor your child’s educational experience to their strengths!

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Laura Petel

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