What was your favorite toy when you were a child? I love to ask my students this question. The students I teach have a specific language learning disability, and I can usually predict what they will answer to this question. Most often, the answer relates to building things. They will say their favorite was Legos, Lincoln Logs, or another similar toy.
Experts like Eide and Eide believe that these children prefer these toys because they have a strong ability to think in three dimensions. They visualize things differently when they read; they look at a blob of clay and see a beautiful sculpture. Later in life choose professions that rely on this gift. Unfortunately, according to the experts, this strength is related to weaknesses in other areas like reading and writing.
Many students who struggle in school have a gift in three-dimensional thinking. You can see these strengths outside of school by watching what they choose to do for fun. Are they creating origami creatures, building things out of toothpicks and marshmallows, or decorating cookies? Activities like these are three-dimensional in nature, and children can show how truly talented they are. School activities do not always make use of this strength, and therefore, school is not fun.
If your child chooses three-dimensional toys, encourage him to use this strength for school assignments when possible. When given a choice of assignments, encourage him to choose one that will allow him to build or create something. For example, if one project choice is to make a video, make it in claymation! If your assignment is to draw a poster, why not add some three-dimensional aspect to it? These assignments become more fun for him and he will spend more time working on them. This, in turn, helps to remember the concepts when needed later (like on the test).
For some ideas, check out the “Diorama Man” website.