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Students do better in school if they understand how they best learn. Some need to see a demonstration to learn something new. Others need to read about it and study illustrations in a book. A few people just need for someone to tell them how. Most people, however, need to actually do something with their hands and use their muscles in order to learn.
If you think about learning something like how to shoot a free throw, it’s obvious that nothing else will work except for shooting many free throws and experimenting with what works best. For other things it is not so obvious—like learning how to read.
Students who struggle in school need to figure out what helps them learn. Once they understand themselves better, they can learn how to take what they are learning and make it fit into a style that works for them. For me, I need to read about what I am trying to learn. Then I need to hear someone explain it. Then later, I have to write summary notes. It is when I write the summary notes that the learning becomes real. I need the entire process, too. If something gets left out, then I will not remember it for long.
Helping students understand how they learn best can be the key to academic success. There is a fantastic article on learning styles that includes how to incorporate a student’s learning style into homework strategies that work. There is a simple learning styles quiz that is great to use with young students. Also, check out the learning styles inventory at VARK—A Guide to Learning Styles. It is an interesting one, and it’s also free! This inventory includes a learning style called “read-write” that most do not.
When I use learning styles inventories (quizzes) with my students I like to ask them whether they agree with what they find out. Sometimes, children already know a lot about how they learn best. The websites above may help you to come up with some new strategies to try that match your child’s learning style.