Saturday, December 3, 2011
Help for Struggling Readers with Sensory Needs
There are many resources, both in print and online, for struggling readers. We have tried to provide some of these for our readers in previous blog articles here. However, information and resources for sensory learners who are struggling readers is a bit more challenging to find.
Since we will always want to “teach to the strengths” of a child, it is important to know the child's learning style. If the learning style of a particular child is not yet known, you might consider visiting http://www.learning-styles-online.com/inventory/questions.php?cookieset=y for a FREE learning styles inventory quiz. One type of learning style is that of the sensory learner. Sensory learners need to learn by using one or more of their five senses.
Many of these learners may need “soothing” or “anchoring” when trying to read or learn. Consider that these learners require an even stronger connection with their senses to address these needs.
Many sensory learners prefer concrete, practical, and procedural information. They look for the facts. Visual (sensory) learners like and learn best with graphs, pictures, and diagrams. They look for visual representations of information. Tactile sensory learners prefer to manipulate objects where the kinesthetic (sensory) learners like to move, dance, and use gestures or demonstrations to learn. In addition, they prefer to do physical experiments and learn empirically (by trying). These learners also enjoy working in groups to figure out problems. Auditory (sensory) learners, of course, learn best by listening. Audio books, CDs, and music work well for teaching new material to these learners.
If a child is a struggling reader AND a sensory learner, then it is even more critical to “teach to the strengths” of that child through soothing or anchoring via one or more of his senses. Consider the following strategies:
Visual Learners take in information by:
• Different colors
• Flow charts, timelines
• Charts and graphs
• Pictures, videos, posters, slides
• Different spatial arrangements on the page
• Textbooks with diagrams, pictures
• Teachers/tutors should use gestures & picturesque language
1. Transform lecture notes into a learnable unit by changing them into “picture pages”.
2. Reconstruct images in different ways – i.e., different spatial arrangements
3. Redraw your pages from memory.
4. Replace words with symbols or initials.
Auditory Learners take in information by:
• Attending lectures
• Attending tutorials
• Discussing topics with other students
• Discussing topics with your lecturers
• Explaining new ideas to other people
• Adding rhymes or tunes to your studying
• Using a tape recorder
• Remembering the interesting examples, stories, jokes
• Describing the overheads, pictures and other visuals to someone who was not there
• Leaving spaces in your lecture note for later recall and “filling in”
Convert lecture notes into a learnable unit in the following ways:
1. Lecture notes may be poor because learner prefers to listen. Learner will need to expand notes by talking with others and collecting notes from the textbook
2. Put summarized notes onto tapes and listen to them
3. Ask others to “hear” student’s understanding of topic
4. Read summarized notes aloud
5. Explain notes to another “auditory” person
Tactile Learners take in information by using:
• Laboratory equipment and experimentation
• Artifacts from actual fields trips
• Physical examples of principles
• "Real-life" examples
• Making actual applications
• Hands-on approaches to learning(computing)
• Empirical learning opportunities (by trial and error)
• Inspecting and manipulating collections (i.e., of rocks, plants, shells, etc.)
• Creating exhibits, making samples, working with photographs
• Recipes (sense of taste, too)– for solutions to problems
• Manipulatives and physical samples for hands-on work
Convert lecture notes to learnable units by:
1. Using many concrete examples in a summary (i.e., case studies and applications to help with principles and abstract concepts).
2. Talking about notes with another tactile learner
3. Using/working with pictures and photographs that illustrate an idea
4. Going back to the laboratory experience or to the actual lab manual for support
5. Recalling the actual experiments, fields trip, etc. as sequential experiences (first, this was done, etc.)
Kinesthetic Learners take in information by using:
• Physical movement
• Doing work in laboratories
• Taking actual fields trips
• "Acting out" or dramatizing examples of principles
• Teachers/tutors who give "real-life" examples
• Applications in the field
• Trial and error through physical actions
• Collecting rock types, plants, shells, grasses, etc.
• Exhibiting, finding samples, taking photographs
• Step-by-step lists or protocols as solutions to problems
Convert lecture notes to learnable units by:
1. Using many examples in a summary (i.e., case studies and physical applications to help with principles and abstract concepts).
2. Talking about notes with another kinesthetic learner
3. Using pictures and photographs that illustrate an idea
4. Physically going back to the laboratory or lab manual to re-work an idea
5. Recalling the actions taken in experiments, fields trip, etc.
Next week's article: "FREE Resources for Sensory Learners"
For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
To read testimonials from teachers, parents and students who have used the Reading Focus Cards, please visit http://www.focusandread.com/rfc-testimonials.
Information courtesy of: www.housing.sc.edu/ACE
Clip art courtesy of: http://senses.phillipmartin.info/index.htm