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For 29 Years The Teaching Home Has Been Providing Home-School Families
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Co-Editors: Veteran Home-School Sisters, Sue Welch and Cindy Short

Five Models
of Learning Styles

Five Models of Learning Styles

by Mary E. Askew
from the March/April 1989 issue of The Teaching Home.

Understanding our children's preferred learning styles can help us to establish learning environments that foster readiness and produce more effective learning.

The term leaning style has been described in various ways as follows:

 •  A learning style is based on biological, emotional, sociological, physiological, and psychological characteristics.

 •  A learning style is everything that controls how we take in, concentrate on, understand, process, store, remember, and use new information.

 •  A learning style is the combination of preferences that a student has for ways of thinking, learning tools, relating to others, or various learning experiences.

 •  A learning style is one's natural learning strengths, individual gifts, and bents.

 •  A learning style is the way each child perceives the world differently.

In summery, a child's learning style develops from different factors and represents his most natural style of learning.

1.  Information Processing

Information processing styles refer to the way in which the child concentrates, absorbs, and retains information.

 •  Analytic Learners prefer details; step-by-step approaches; fact-by-fact modes; focused approaches; consistency; and logical, objective, and organized presentations of facts.

 •  Global Learners prefer seeing the broad view (the big picture), using intuition, seeing the interrelationships between things, doing group activities, and completing multiple tasks.

2.  Perceptual Ability

Perceptual ability is the method we use to take in information to observe our world.  Perceptual characteristic is an important learning-style factor.

 •  Auditory individuals learn as a result of hearing, verbalizing, and listening.

 •  Visual children input information by reading, seeing, and watching.

 •  Tactual learners acquire knowledge using feeling, touching, handling, or manipulation.

 •  Kinesthetic learning comes by motion, experience, and involvement.

3.  Cognitive Processes

A third learning style model deals with the processes of knowing or cognitive abilities.

Perceptual Process

The Perceptual Process deals with the way we view our environment.

 •  Concrete Learners record information received from their senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing.  They view things in a tangible, factual, and literal way.

 •  Abstract Learners prefer studying relationships and unseen ideas.  They use intuition and imagination.

Ordering Abilities

After being perceived, new information is processed, understood, used, and stored in one of two ordering styles.

 •  Sequential Learners organize information in a step-by-step manner.  They like logical and linear thinking.

 •  Random Learners are spontaneous.

The relationship between the perceptual and the ordering abilities results in four combinations:

 •  Concrete/Sequential

 •  Abstract/Sequential

 •  Concrete/Random

 •  Abstract/Random

4.  Multiple Intelligences

A fourth learning model deals with multiple kinds of intelligence.  At least seven have been identified.  They describe an individual's areas of strength.

 •  Linguistic

 •  Spatial

 •  Musical

 •  Bodily/Kinesthetic

 •  Logical/Mathematical

 •  Interpersonal

 •  Intrapersonal

5.  Areas of Need

Four additional learning factors are related to the learner's needs in four areas.

 •  The Learning Environment produces effects on the learner by changes in sound, light, temperature, and setting.

 •  Emotional Preferences include the child's motivation, persistence, focusing, responsibility, conformity, independence, and response to structure.

 •  Social Needs reflect the child's desire to be alone, with a peer, in a group, or with an adult.

 •  Physiological Needs are comprised of food needs, the need to move around, and the best time of day to work.

Five Children:
Five Personalities

Five Children:
Five Personalities

by Joy Marie Dunlap
from the March/April 1989 issue of The Teaching Home.

Every child is a totally unique creation, relating to information in the world around him in a different way.

I have found that recognizing, understanding, and accommodating each child's unique learning style makes a huge difference in the child's attitude toward learning and how much knowledge he is able to absorb and retain.

Many models have been used to define different learning styles based on generalized personality types.  All of these are helpful, but none are exhaustive, since there are literally billions of personalities on the earth today, each somewhat different than all the others.

Sensory Styles

One model involves recognizing which of the five senses a child relates to best.  This is probably one of the first personality factors you are likely to recognize in your children.  Each of our five babies showed clear differences in the way he related to the world around him.

1. The Visual Learner

Joshua was a visual baby.  He had to have interesting things going on that he could see or he became fussy.  He hated to be placed face down on a blanket on the floor.  He hated the sling-type baby carrier, because he could not see well from inside it.

Josh grew into a visual learner.  For him, to see is to understand.  He enjoys reading and loves to learn from maps, graphs, charts, and diagrams, which he memorizes readily from sight.

2. The Auditory Learner

Justin was an auditory baby.  It really did not seem to matter what he could or could not see.  The important thing was whether he could hear my voice.

The sling-type baby carrier which Josh had so vehemently rejected did not seem to bother Justin as long as he could hear interesting sounds around him.

In the early grades, Justin liked to learn through stories and conversation.  I taught him arithmetic using story problems.

3. The Kinesthetic Learner

Judah is a kinesthetic learner.  He learns best by doing, touching, feeling, and experiencing.  As a baby, Judah was constantly in motion.

Kinesthetics can be a major challenge to teach, as books just aren't their thing – at least not until later on down the road.

Judah has a short attention span and finds it hard to sit still for very long.

If you have a child with kinesthetic tendencies, do not automatically assume that he is hyperactive or ADD.

It is a mistake to fail to train a kinesthetic child in character like any other child.  Kinesthetic children need extra time and patience, because it is challenging for them to learn to control their impulses.

But kinesthetic learners can learn self-control waiting their turn to speak, lengthening their attention span (gradually), and learning to sit still when necessary.

I planned Judah's courses to include extra physical activities such as nature walks and hands-on experiences in science, period crafts in history, all kinds of manipulatives in math, and plastic letters in language arts.

I also used a large number of library books, since the full-color illustrations held Judah's attention and helped him concentrate on what I was saying.

At first Judah could pay attention for only about 15 minutes at a time, so I presented factual material through picture books for that long and followed the lesson with an additional 10 to 15 minutes of feedback on his part in the form of retelling what he had learned or drawing it on paper.

Personality Types

1. The Social Personality

Jennaya is socially oriented.  She enjoys school best when we are doing things together.  And she loves to do well to please those she is with and is accountable to, so she tries hard even when completing independent assignments in her room.

Jennaya is most motivated by a smile, a hug, or a smiley face on her paper.

2. The Achievement-Oriented Personality

The achievement-oriented personality loves to reach new goals for their own sake.  All I have to do to get Joshua to learn something is to express it as a goal, and he will not rest until he has met the challenge.  I have to be careful what I say.  If I suggest a challenge he is not ready for, he may get frustrated.

The achievement-oriented personality can be competitive, perfectionist, and self-critical.  These children readily learn independently and are motivated self-starters.

They don't naturally accept authority, but can be trained to (as all children should).  They love to be given goals to meet on their own initiative, but you still need to check up on them like any other child.

These children are also planners.  Josh likes his whole day all planned out as soon as he gets up and is especially frustrated by the need to be flexible and deal with unexpected changes in plans.

Josh now plans his entire week of schooling ahead of time and then brings it to me for approval.  This saves me a tremendous amount of time and is very satisfying to Joshua.

3. The Scientist Personality

Josh is also a scientist-type personality.  This type can't stand open-ended assignments.  He likes a predictable world, where certain rules are always followed.  He enjoys answering factual questions and actually loves to memorize facts of all kinds, but shuns subjective questions which are "candy" to the creative-type learner.

Josh is both artistic and musical, and he likes to write stories.  Be he likes music to follow careful rules, his drawings are realistic, and he only likes to write about what could be proven as fact.

4. The Creative Personality

In contrast, Justin, the creative type, loves to explore new possibilities.  The creative type loves open-ended, subjective questions, including those which ask him to express his opinion or compare and contrast two different things or speculate as to why something might have occurred.

The creative learner loves to write, create, and tinker.  He tends to be an undisciplined daydreamer and may need help staying focused on assignments, especially those for which he must memorize facts.

Justin is most motivated to learn facts if I give him a how or why puzzle which requires the facts in order to solve it.

A Balanced Approach

In choosing your curriculum, keep your child's individual personality in mind. We want to get to know our children's unique personalities, appreciate them, and teach difficult facts or concepts in the learning mode they relate to best.

Still, every child should be solidly trained in self-discipline and Christian character, and every child should be given facts to master, philosophical questions to answer, and hands-on activities to do. Every child needs a balanced education.

A wise teacher will strike a careful balance between accommodating her children's individual learning styles and, at the same time, shoring up their weak points and training each and every one in Christian character.

What a delight to have the opportunity to watch each one of our children blossom and grow through the years into a unique and very special person!

James and Joy Marie Dunlap offer resources for home educators at


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Mind Reading

Our 10-year-old son, Bradley, was reading silently to himself.  His 6-year-old sister, Christine, was sitting next to him, looking at the book trying to find words she recognized.  A couple of minutes later she put her ear to her brother's head.

Bradley asked, "What are you doing?!"

Christine answered, "I'm trying to hear what you're reading!"

Submitted by Carrie P., North Carolina.

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In This Issue

Learning Styles
Easier Teaching / Easier Learning

Know Your Students:
Identify Their Personal Learning Styles

•  Lookers: Visual/Spatial Learners
•  Listeners: Auditory Learners
•  Movers: Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners


•  Different Models of Learning Styles
•  Five Children: Five Personalities

Recommended Resources

•  Sing 'n Learn: Hundreds of Audio Resources
•  Candy 4WAY Phonics Program: Systematic Phonics
•  Birch Court Books: Kinesthetic/Tactile Resources
•  Fun for Kidz Magazines: for Children 5-13


The information on learning styles in this (very full!) issue can serve as an introduction to how children learn, and thus can give you valuable ideas about how to teach your individual children.

Keep in mind that as children grow and mature, their learning style(s) may change.

Inge Cannon says in her article, "Your goal as a teacher should be to make your children eventually comfortable with all three means of getting information."

Joy Marie Dunlap says in her article, "A wise teacher will strike a careful balance between accommodating her children's individual learning styles and, at the same time, shoring up their weak points and training each and every one in Christian character."

May the Lord bless you and your family for His glory.


     The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
     Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian

The Teaching Home is a home-school, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.

Sing ’n Learn
“Make Learning Fun with Music!”

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1. Accommodate your
     auditory learners

     and add another
     learning method for
     all your children.

2. Make learning fun and provide motivation.

3. Use any time to educational advantage, in the car or
     when teacher is busy.

4. Use the power of music for memory work –
     you remember what you sing!

Sing ’n Learn
700+ Audio Products Covering Every Subject Area! / 1-800-460-1973

Know Your Students:
Identify Their Personal Learning Styles

by Inge P. Cannon
from the March/April 1989 issue of The Teaching Home.

Educators have many ways of defining and describing the way people process information including learning personalities, modalities, and styles.  The simplest to understand and apply involves three categories: lookers, listeners, and movers.

 •  Lookers: Visual/Spatial Learners process information best when they see it.

 •  Listeners: Auditory Learners are most efficient when they can hear information.

 •  Movers: Kinesthetic or Tactile Learners function best when they can physically interact with information in a hands-on way.

It is helpful for a teaching parent to know his own learning style as well as the preferred learning style of each child in the family for several reasons.

1.  Teacher's vs. Student's Style

A teacher will tend to choose curriculum that appeals to his own best way to learn because that's what makes the most sense to him.

If the children's styles are different, the materials may not make as much sense to them.

2.  Students' Differing Styles

It is common for curriculum (e.g., a phonics or math program) to work extremely well for one child, and therefore, the parent thinks that subsequent children should do even better since he now knows how to teach the material.

Than comes the shock!  Child number 2 or number 3 is wired completely differently and thus needs a different approach.

3.  Enhanced Communications

Effectiveness of communication (even between spouses) is enhanced when we present new or complicated information in the manner the receiver uses best.

The entire population of the world is not divided into three learning groups, however.  Thus, some children do very well with two of the three styles.  Occasionally a child is equally adept at all three.

Sometimes people need to get certain kinds of information one way and other kinds of information in a different way.

Furthermore, there is no such thing as one "right" kind of material for a given learning style.

However, there are more and less efficient ways to use what you have.  If your child is not learning what you want him to learn one way, try another method.  Feel free to adapt the materials you have to the methods that will help you travel past the roadblocks in your child's mind.

The checklists below will help you identify the tendencies of learners in each group.

Remember that one child will not demonstrate all the characteristics within a category.  If you check off most of the characteristics in one category, you will, however, have confidence that your child probably does best in that area at this time.

     Your goal as a teacher should be to make
your children eventually comfortable
with all three means of getting information.

After you have presented a new idea through your child's preferred style, review the material with some of the other methods to increase your child's flexibility.

Read below a description of these three types of learners, plus what makes them flourish and what they tend to struggles with.

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Visual/Spatial Learners

Description of Visual/Spatial Learners

 •  Tend to be quiet and often need to be coaxed into answering questions.

 •  Are excellent "copycats," functioning best when they "see" what is expected of them.

 •  Are especially observant of details and can frequently find items lost by others.

 •  Will take copious notes, even when the teacher promises to provide handouts.

 •  Are visually organized, easily remember where things are, and need to have everything in its place.

 •  Can assemble most things without help from printed or pictured instructions.

 •  Will catch your typographical errors and recognize if they have worked on or seen a page of material before.

 •  Make it a priority to look neat and be color-coordinated.

 •  Are very aware of spatial relationships and thus able to create well-spaced drawings, diagrams, and graphs.

 •  Doodle on note paper when talking.

 •  Tend to have a vivid imagination.

 •  Will have a large reading vocabulary at an early age.

 •  Given a choice, would most like to watch television or read a book in their spare time.

 •  Are easily distracted by visual stimuli (e.g., a new bulletin board or a bird outside the window).

How To Encourage Visual/Spatial Learners

 •  Lookers respond favorably to visible rewards.

Visual/Spatial Learners Flourish When:

 •  Taught with books and pictures.

 •  Allowed to work challenging puzzles.

 •  The teacher demonstrates the skill to be learned (model it) – "show me."

 •  Shown the word before hearing what it is.

 •  Shown a picture of the actual object.

 •  The position of tongue and lips is demonstrated when new words are presented.

Note: If you can't have the visual learner observe the concept or skill you are teaching, help him visualize it in his mind.

Best Teaching Aids for Visual/Spatial Learners

 •  Flashcards

 •  Matching Games and Puzzles (of Every Kind)

 •  Dictionaries

 •  "How-To" Books with Diagrams

 •  Workbooks

 •  Charts, Maps, Timelines, Pictures, and Graphs

 •  Written directions

 •  Wall Strips and Desk Tapes

 •  Well-Defined Assignments

Visual/Spatial Learners Tend To Struggle with:

 •  Creative writing.

 •  Reading beyond the literal meaning.

 •  Applying arithmetic to word problems.

 •  Forming a hypothesis and testing it with experiments.

For Your Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners

1.  Saxon Math Manipulatives Kit.  450-piece kit with every- thing necessary to master math concepts.

2.  Learning MagnetsBoards, ABCs, Numbers, Words, and more.

3.  Fun Projects for Hands-On Character Building by Rick & Marilyn Boyer.  Fun, simple, hands-on projects.

4.  How to Get Your Child off the Refrigerator and on to Learning by Carol Barnier.  Fun, active, and effective ways to teach everything from reading to history – to an energetic child with a short attention span!

Birch Court Books
Free Media Mail Shipping with $20 Purchase  Free catalog.  800-655-1811
N7137 County Hwy. C, Seymour WI 54165

Auditory Learners

Description of Auditory Learners

 •  Love to communicate and can generally "talk your ear off."

 •  Remember jingles, poems, and television commercials effortlessly.

 •  Continually keep a rhythmic pattern going by tapping for making sounds.

 •  Usually sing beautifully and have excellent pitch memory.

 •  Generally remember names of people they've met or heard about.

 •  Find it easy to express themselves verbally.

 •  Tend to read out loud or subvocalize while reading.

 •  Often sound older than their chronological age (as a result of their ability to process language patterns with "tape-recorder accuracy").

 •  Tend to sort out their problems by talking about them.

 •  Sound out words and are, therefore, usually phonetic spellers.

 •  Tend to be poor test takers because they can't sort out visual material fast enough.

 •  Enjoy listening to a radio, tapes, or CDs in their spare time.

 •  Respond well to phonetic reading programs, usually demonstrating excellent word attack skills.

 •  Find it easy to follow oral directions.

 •  Are easily distracted by background noises.

How To Encourage Auditory Learners

 •  Auditory learners respond favorably to verbal praise.

Auditory Learners Flourish When:

 •  Told every step of the skill to be learned.

 •  Allowed to move their lips or subvocalize to increase reading comprehension.

 •  Neurological impressions are combined in reading: read orally to student while he points to the word being read.

 •  Memorizing rules, plays, poetry, etc.

Best Teaching Aids for Auditory Learners

 •  Audiocassettes and CDs

 •  Music

 •  Rhymes

 •  Clapping, Keeping a Beat, and Rhythm Instruments

 •  Echo Games (Singing and Rhythm)

 •  Creating Conversation for Puppets

 •  Field Trips with Interview Focus

 •  Integrated Content (Interdisciplinary)

Auditory Learners Tend To Struggle with:

 •  Reading technical or nonfiction writing.

 •  Rewriting and editing written work.

 •  Properly researching footnotes.

 •  Paying attention to detail for accuracy in math, science, and history.

Fun for Kidz Magazines
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Hopscotch, Boys' Quest, and Fun for Kidz magazines are filled with whole- some content.  Each issue is based on a theme, making these magazines excellent teaching tools for unit studies in various subjects.

Preview entire issues, browse our large collection of back issues by theme, and take advantage of our special homeschooling offers at

Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners

Description of Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners

 •  Relate to others more comfortably in action and body than in words.

 •  Tend to live in perpetual motion, rarely sitting still – often called "hyperactive."

 •  Try to touch everything they see or walk past.

 •  Use lots of gestures and facial expressions when talking.

 •  Tend to show anger physically (e.g., by stomping feet and slamming doors).

 •  Prefer to try things out by touching and feeling, even as they get older.

 •  Often make paper airplanes and fans out of their papers.

 •  Prefer to be playing, jumping, running, or wrestling in their spare time.

 •  Have excellent muscle coordination in sports which require skills in balancing.

 •  Can successfully maintain balance while blindfolded.

 •  Are most distracted when they must be still or things get "too quiet."

 •  Tend to dislike long-range goal setting and complicated projects.

 •  Are excellent at taking gadgets apart and can put them back together again.

 •  Find listening a difficult challenge.

How To Encourage Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners

 •  Movers respond more favorably to a "pat on the back" than to "stars" or a favorable comment.

Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners Flourish When:

 •  Their learning experiences allow as many opportunities as possible to do or feel (touch).

 •  They can demonstrate or model a task for other students.

 •  Taught through role playing or pantomime.  They love short, dynamic presentations.

 •  Pointing with fingers to follow or anchor words in early reading.

 •  They are kept moving with appropriate activities. They love construction.

Best Teaching Aids for
Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners

 •  Finger Plays and Puppet Theater

 •  Tracing motions (in the air, on paper, on the wall or floor)

 •  Tactile Experiences with Sandpaper, Sand, Clay, Water, etc.

 •  Travel and Field Trips

 •  Felt Pens (Texture)

 •  Math Manipulatives (Blocks, Rods, Chips, Play Money)

 •  Plays and Dramatic Interpretations

 •  Conducting Motions in Music

 •  Time Lines and Maps that he makes himself

 •  The key is variety in methods with lots of hands-on activities.

Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners
Tend To Struggle with:

 •  Concentrating on phonics, grammar, and math rules.

 •  Reading for information.

 •  Doing analytical work.

 •  Proofreading their work.

 •  Doing research-related writing.

 •  Completing long-term projects in science and history.

 •  Understanding the relevance of their work to other academic goals.

For More Information

"Learning Styles: Match Curriculum and Methods to the Needs of Your Children" by Inge Cannon.  Listen to the introduction and order ($4) online at

Also see products offered by Ron and Inge Cannon in the following categories at Education PLUS: Help for the Teaching Parent, Help for Discipling Specific Ages, Help for Character Building, Gifted & Talented Children, Etiquette Training, Focus on the Ladies, and Finally Organized!

Inge Cannon's Homeschool Transcripts training workshops and software will make you successful in planning junior and senior high curriculum, documenting all secondary level training options, preparing for college and career decisions, and presenting professional credentials for prospective opportunities.

God's Love for Us

Because we have been separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died in our place, then rose to life again.  If we trust Him as our Savior and Lord, He will forgive our sin and give us eternal life.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."  (John 3:16)

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