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5 Learning Styles, How to Teach Them, and What Curriculum to Use

Many people are aware of the three main cognitive learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. However, there are many other learning styles that get overlooked. These learning styles are based on the nine intelligence types presented by Howard Gardner. Howard Gardner is a developmental psychologist and a Research Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. He is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, which we will discuss in this post.

What are the Nine Types of Learners

  1. Musical
  2. Logical
  3. Kinesthetic
  4. Linguistic
  5. Spatial
  6. Existential
  7. Naturalist
  8. Intrapersonal
  9. Interpersonal

This post will identify five types of intelligence, their preferred learning style, teaching strategies to honor these learning styles, and a list of curricula and resources to help these intelligence types thrive. You can read about the remaining four types of intelligence here.

Why Identify Learning Styles in Children?

Identifying your child’s preferred learning style is an act of service. Parents who commit themselves to learning how their children learn help them thrive in many areas of development. Those areas of development include cognitive, social, emotional, creative, spiritual, and even physical. Think of the full scope of your child’s development as one giant puzzle. All the pieces work together to form the whole child. If just one piece is missing, the puzzle is incomplete. Since learning is a huge part of cognition, helping a child to reach their academic potential by honoring their learning style becomes a paramount piece of the puzzle. Take a look below to read more about learning styles.

1. Musical (auditory learner)

These children love to listen to and play music. You may hear them sing, hum, replicate tunes, or create tunes of their own. They have a gift for discerning melody, pitch, rhythm, and tone.

How They Learn Best—Children with musical intelligence are often auditory learnersThey learn best through songs, patterns, instruments, rhythm, and musical expression.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Reading aloud is key.
  • Have an engaging conversation about the lesson.
  • Let them perform an oral presentation rather than a written assessment.
  • Learn new concepts using catchy songs or chants.
  • Play soft classical music in the background.
  • Use audiobooks and lessons when appropriate.
  • Allow them to use noise-canceling headphones. Auditory learners are easily distracted by random noises.

Curriculum and Resources:

2. Logical-mathematical (reasoning learner)

These children love to know how things work, make hypotheses, and are gifted at problem-solving. You’ll find they may enjoy working with numbers, collecting and classifying items, or working with pattern puzzles, and enjoy strategy-based games. Logical-mathematical learners also like to keep detailed planners and organizers and can sometimes struggle with creative writing and seeing the big picture. 

How Do They Learn Best? Children with logical-mathematical intelligence are also called logical learners. This learning style uses reasoning and logical sequencing to absorb information. They learn best through structure, reading, visuals, problem-solving, numbers, charts, and graphs. 

Teaching Strategies:

  • Explore statistics and facts on topics when appropriate.
  • Provide structure with a set of rules, goals, and procedures. 
  • Incorporate critical thinking exercises into your lessons.
  • Implement problem-solving tasks into your lessons.
  • Let the child interpret abstract visual information.
  • Use visual materials, laptops, and hands-on projects.
  • Encouraging your child to use highlighters to identify the most important parts while they are reading.
  • Break down information into charts, graphs, and outlines 
  • Stock up on brain teasers such as puzzles, mazes, riddles, and optical illusions.

Curriculum and Resources: 

  • Building Thinking Skills Critical Thinking Skills for Reading, Writing, Math and Science 
  • The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning by Nathaniel Bluedorn, Hans Bluedorn , et al.
  • The Basics of Critical Thinking by Michael Baker
  • Oh Freedom! A Conscious U.S. History Curriculum 
  • Developing Critical Thinking through Science by The Critical Thinking Co. 
  • Critical Thinking Company series 
  • Logic and Thinking Skills books by Prufrock Press
  • Royal Fireworks Philosophy Curriculum
  • Science Detective by Stephen David Fischer and Joseph Carroll
  • Smarty Pants Puzzles by Catherine Connors-Nelson
  • Take 5! for Language Arts by Kaye Hagler
  • When Math Matters by Hickory Grove Press
  • Singapore Math Curriculum 
  • Switched on Schoolhouse
  • Math U See
  • Spelling U See

3. Bodily-kinesthetic (physical learner)

These children are gifted at coordinating their mind with their body. They use their body skillfully and love to be physically active. Playing sports, dancing, miming, or acting are among some of their favorite things to do.

How Do They Learn Best? Children with bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are physical learners. They learn best through interacting with their environment and real hands-on experiences. Physical activity and engagement helps this learning style to process information in a way that is more effective than listening to a lecture.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Incorporate physical exercises into your lessons.
  • Provide hands-on learning experiences.
  • Interact with physical objects when teaching and learning.
  • Encourage them to roleplay what they learned. 
  • Include drawing, writing, crafting, and cut and paste activities with lessons.
  • Let them stand during lessons or while doing independent work. 
  • Resist the urge to make them sit still.
  • Give them stress balls and objects to fidget with during lessons. 
  • Let them take a walk while listening to an audiobook or audio lesson. 

Curriculum and Resources:

  • Life of Fred Mathematics 
  • Math U See
  • Berean Builders
  • Math Lessons for a Living Education
  • Math Interactive Notebook by Carson Dellosa Publishing
  • Time for Learning
  • Language Lessons for a Living Education
  • The Good and the Beautiful 
  • Science Interactive Notebooks by Carson Dellosa Publishing
  • Awesome Science Experiments for Kids by Crystal Chatterton
  • Awesome Kitchen Science Experiments for Kids: 50 STEAM Projects You Can Eat! by Megan Olivia Hall
  • Interactive Notebook: United States Government Resource Book by Mark Twain Media
  • All in One Homeschool 
  • Real Odyssey Science
  • Apologia
  • 303 Kid-Approved Exercises and Active Games by Kimberly Wechsler, Michael Sleva, et al.
  • The Ultimate Homeschool Physical Education Game Book by Guy Bailey
  • Moving Beyond the Page

4. Linguistic (verbal learner)

These children are gifted at knowing the meaning and order of words. They have a strong ability to find the right words to express what they mean. They may like to tell jokes, riddles, or stories. They may also enjoy reading, writing, or playing word games.

How Do They Learn Best? Children with linguistic intelligence are verbal learners. They learn best through listening, reading, speaking, and writing. They prefer activities that are based on language reasoning rather than abstract visual information. They usually enjoy expressing their learning through written projects, speech and drama classes, debate, language classes, and journalism.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Read lots of books.
  • Present lessons in a story-time format.
  • Encourage them to write poems and short stories.
  • Play word games like Scrabble.
  • Incorporate daily journaling.
  • Have frequent dialogues during lessons about the subject matter.
  • Keep reference materials like encyclopedias and thesauruses readily available.
  • Encourage them to reenact stories.
  • Incorporate written projects into lessons.
  • Allow them to engage in a debate on lesson topics.
  • Let them blog about what they’re learning, if age-appropriate.

Curriculum and Resources:

5. Spatial (picture learner)

These children have a gift for perceiving the world accurately and recreating or transforming aspects of the world. They often see the world in pictures. They may enjoy drawing, painting, building blocks or structures, doing puzzles, taking photographs, or observing maps. These learners have an amazing ability to read people’s body language and facial expressions. This learning type also has a good visual memory for details and interprets pictures and charts well.

How Do They Learn Best? Children with spatial intelligence are often visual or picture learners. Children with spatial intelligence learn best when taught using written, modeled, or diagrammed instruction, and visual media.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Use visual aids during lessons.
  • Take a visual approach to reading and phonics.
  • Encourage them to discover their own methods of problem-solving.
  • Avoid rote memorization. Use conceptual approaches to learning.
  • Allow them to accelerate and advance in the material if appropriate.
  • Master higher-level concepts rather than perfection of simple concepts.
  • Use computers so that material is presented visually.
  • Choose books with visually-stimulating images. 
  • Emphasize creativity, imagination, and innovation in all subjects.

Curriculum and Resources:

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1 Comment

  1. 4 Most Overlooked Learning Styles and How to Teach Them Effectively | The Homeschool Genius

    […] This post will identify the four most overlooked intelligence types, their preferred learning style, teaching strategies to honor those learning styles, and a list of curricula and resources to help these intelligence types thrive. You can read about the remaining five types of intelligence here.  […]

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