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Most recent posting below. See other articles in the column to the right.

"Outfit Your Children for Back-to-School Success by Appealing to Their Unique Learning Style"

Understanding the three learning styles – Visual, Auditory & Haptic –
lets parents & educators help children excel in education

By Joyce Magliaro, Sylvan Learning Center

Back-to-school season is just around the corner, which means it’s time to pick out new clothes, shoes, backpacks and school supplies. As you outfit your child with the latest fashion styles, be sure that you prepare for a successful school year by understanding your child’s learning style.

“Just as there are many different fashions, there are also many different ways a child learns,” explains Joyce Magliaro, executive director of the Sylvan Learning Centers in Hamilton, Pennington, Clinton, Flemington and Freehold, NJ. “Understanding a child’s learning style can help a parent and teacher personalize instruction or homework to ensure peak performance in school and build a child’s self confidence.”

There are three widely recognized learning styles, also known as learning channels: visual, auditory and haptic (kinesthetic-tactile). Sylvan Learning Center, the leading provider of supplemental education services to students of all ages and skill levels, provides the following tips to assist parents in determining what type of learning style their child exhibits. Parents can also visit their local Sylvan Learning Center for a more detailed analysis of how their child learns.

When reading the following tips, keep in mind that a child may exhibit more than one of the following learning styles.

How does your child learn?
If a child easily remembers how things look and can describe something they’ve seen in great detail, but has a difficult time following verbal directions, he is likely to be a visual learner. To help him learn more successfully, parents may want to:

  • - Encourage him to take written notes to help him remember concepts
  • Keep highlighter markers and colored paper on hand to help him liven up notes and study materials
  • Urge him to pay close attention to graphs, charts, maps and pictures
  • Use illustrations to help him recall information easier
  • Create flash cards with him to remember facts

If a child prefers listening to stories, music and class lessons, or moves her lips when she reads, she may be an auditory learner. To help her learn more successfully, parents may want to:

  • Purchase a tape recorder and encourage her to record notes and chapter summaries whenever possible
  • Read key concepts and review questions aloud with her
  • Urge her to recite aloud important dates, key terms and facts
  • Help her make up songs or rhymes in order to increase her ability to recall facts
  • Have her verbally repeat information to them

If a child is always on the move and may have a hard time sitting still or paying attention, he is likely a haptic learner. To help him learn more successfully, parents may want to:

  • Incorporate hands-on learning activities whenever possible
  • Encourage him to study in different positions (e.g., sit in a chair, on the floor, at a table, etc.)
  • Take short breaks with him, even just stretching, after ten minutes
  • Urge him to take notes on important facts and rewrite his notes several times
  • Ask him to write key words or phrases with his finger, on the table or in the air
  • Allow him to walk around while studying for a test

“As parents prepare their child for the new school year, it’s important to remember that he or she will be better prepared for classes if parents and the school teacher both understand their learning styles and use this knowledge to help them excel in school and on homework,” Magliaro notes. Magliaro also suggests that parents share their observations about their children’s learning style with their child’s teachers.

Learning feels good™ at Sylvan Learning Center, the leading provider of in-center and live, online tutoring at home to students of all ages and skill levels. With 25 years of experience and more than 1,100 centers located throughout North America, Sylvan Learning Center has positively changed the lives of over two million students and families. Sylvan's trained and certified teachers provide personalized instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams. At Sylvan, students develop the skills to do better in school and the confidence to do better in everything else. For more information regarding the Sylvan Advantage™, call 1-800-31-SUCCESS or visit

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