Learning Styles

Ask yourself what comes to mind when you hear the word dog. Some people see a picture of the animal, others might hear a bark, while others sense the texture of the dog’s fur.

If you saw a picture of the dog, or saw the letters of the word, you are probably a visual learner. If you heard the dog bark, then your learning style would be auditory, and if you felt the soft fur of the dog, then your style is kinesthetic.

Visual learners would rather see a demonstration or read instructions. They call up images from the past when trying to remember, and they picture the way things look in their heads.

Auditory learners tend to spell phonetically. They can sometimes have trouble reading because they don’t visualize well. Instead, they learn by listening, talking, singing, or other activities using their hearing sense.

Kinesthetic learners learn best through movement and manipulation. They like to find out how things work, so participating in a demonstration rather than watching it helps them learn.

Most preschool children learn best through experience; therefore, they would be considered kinesthetic learners. Though people can use different learning styles, as we grow older we are pulled toward one preferred mode of learning. This is the mode we resort to when we are under stress or learning new information that is difficult to understand.

It is not unusual for parents to prefer a different style of learning from that of their child. By having a better understanding of each style, a parent has a better chance of helping their child learn with less frustration.

Experiment with different learning styles:

  • If your child is primarily a visual learner, then use diagrams, maps, graphs, and the Internet.
  • Memorizing a jingle, singing songs, and reading aloud are all activities that will support auditory learners.
  • Kinesthetic learners might better remember by manipulating letter blocks, creating a crossword puzzle, or doing math while bouncing on a trampoline. 

Trying different methods of learning may prevent your child from feeling frustrated and can improve their feeling of accomplishment.

 

 

Making Playdough

Making and playing with playdough together is fun and can lead to many conversations and creative moments!

LET’S GO!

What you need: 

  • 1 c salt
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 1 c cold water
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 tbsp. corn starch
  • food colouring

What to do:

  1. In a bowl, mix together salt, water, oil, and food colouring (enough to make a bright colour).
  2. Add flour and corn starch.
  3. Knead the dough with your hands. Gradually add more flour if it’s too sticky, or oil if it isn’t sticking together.
  4. Store in a sealed bag in the fridge for up to 2 months.

 

DO IT TOGETHER!

Let your child help you measure and mix the ingredients. Show them the recipe and talk about how you know how much you need.

Use the playdough to make whatever you want—maybe letters, shapes, or something from a favourite book or song.

Talk about what you are doing and ask your child what they are making.

 

WHY?

Reading recipes is something that often happens in a home and not always just for cooking! Letting your child get involved will help them see how reading is used differently. Doing it together and using the end product is a great reward!

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

Bring a Book to Life

Doing something to extend a book beyond just reading it will help your child to understand the book!

LET’S GO!

Take a favourite story and act it out while you read.

DO IT TOGETHER!

As you read a book together, you can build on the story by acting it out with your child.

You can play dress-up and be the characters, or use your child’s toys, stuffed animals, or puppets as props.

Make up your own story, add new characters, or change the ending!

WHY?

Books don’t just have to be read, they can be starting points for other fun activities like crafts and pretend play. Acting out a story can help your child to understand it more easily and lets them use their imagination to decide how they want to do it.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

Nursery Rhyme Fun

Nursery rhymes are a fun way for your child to hear how language works, which is the first step to becoming a reader and writer!

LET’S GO!

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again!

 

DO IT TOGETHER!

Sit with your child facing you on your lap. Say the rhyme with lots of expression in your voice and on your face while you rock them. If they are older, let them pretend to fall off your lap when Humpty falls. Add some tickling after the rhyme by pretending you can put them back together with kisses.

WHY?

The rhyme, pattern, and repetition in a nursery rhyme can help your child learn how language works. It helps your child recognize sounds and rhyming words, which can help them learn to read and spell as they get older.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together).

Click here for the iOS version.

Click here to download the Android version.

 

Real Pictures = Real Understanding

Drawings are hard for your baby to understand—they don’t always look like what your baby sees around them. Real pictures help with their understanding!

LET’S GO!

Choose books with pictures of real people, pets, or objects.

DO IT TOGETHER!

Share these books with your child by looking at the pictures, reading the words, and connecting what they see in the book to real objects in their life.

For example, if there is a picture of a teddy bear, point to it and say, “This teddy bear looks like your teddy bear, doesn’t it?”

WHY?

Young children have trouble connecting a drawing or abstract picture to real things in their lives. Books with real pictures will help your child recognize things in their world more easily and understand the connection from the book.

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together). Click here for the iOS version Click here to download the Android version

Let’s Go for a Walk!

Often, we take all the signs and print around us for granted, but it’s one of the first things your child will start to notice and understand—helping them become a reader!

LET’S GO!

Go for a walk and explore the signs in your neighbourhood.

DO IT TOGETHER!

As you walk, talk with your child about what you see around you. As you pass a sign (road, store, or whatever else you see), point it out and talk about it—what colour is it, what shape, what does it mean.

WHY?

There are signs all around us. From information, to road signs, to advertising. This is called environmental print.

When you talk about signs as you walk, right from when your child is a baby, they will start to understand that the signs have meaning.

These are some of the first things your child will start to notice and “read.”

To get over 120 of the best activities to do with your children to boost and build key literacy skills from birth to 5 years, download the Centre for Family Literacy’s FREE Flit app, (Families Learning and Interacting Together). Click here for the iOS version Click here to download the Android version

 

Sharing Books Creates Memories 2

I remember my mom reading with my sister and I every night. Our favourite book was “The Big Book of Stories” and we read a different story each night. My favourite was about animals joining the circus. Our imaginations ran wild with the images of puppies swinging on a trapeze, chimpanzees flying up and down on a trampoline, and piggies walking on a tightrope. So of course I wanted to share books with my daughter when she was born, and I was lucky enough to inherit a whole collection from my sister whose children were older. We had so much fun and the tradition with my daughter lasted for many years.

Eventually I had to part with some books and offered the best of them to a neighbour with a toddler. I was so shocked when she refused them, saying “no thanks, he doesn’t like books”! My mind was racing with thoughts like “what, he doesn’t want to fly a spaceship or go on a jungle adventure?” I felt bad that the boy was missing out on the experience of cuddling with a parent and sharing a book, or the fun of acting out the story of a trip down a crocodile infested river on couch cushions, with wooden spoons for paddles/weapons. But I didn’t say anything. I just wondered if it was the parent more than the child who didn’t like books.

After many years, I did learn that my neighbour had difficulty reading. Teachers hadn’t had  the extra time to spend with her and she was embarrassed to keep asking. It still happens. I wonder if her son is sharing books and creating memories with his children?

 

 

‘Tis the Season for Lifelong Learning!

Winter holidays provide an excellent opportunity for families and friends to spend time together. There are many fun learning activities that families can do.

Literacy is one of the greatest gifts that adults can share and benefit from with their families.

Mother and daughter baking cookies

Try the following activities to encourage family literacy over the holidays:

  1. Make a list, check it twice: As a family, write out lists together – wish lists to Santa, shopping lists, or even New Year’s resolutions!
  2. Watch a book: Many classic holiday stories have been adapted for the big screen. Read these stories with your kids first, then watch the movie; Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas are classic favourites.
  3. Signed, sealed, delivered: Do you have a stack of holiday cards that need to be prepared? Ask your family to help you write out greetings and addresses, or stamp envelopes.
  4. How many shopping days left? When shopping for gifts or holiday party supplies, ask your kids to count out the change required to make your purchase. You can practice numeracy skills by keeping track of spending before you reach the cash register.
  5. Dear Grandma: The holidays are a great time to write a letter or email to a loved one. Have everyone in your family contribute at least one paragraph on what they have accomplished over the last year.
  6. Holiday scavenger hunt: Create a list of holiday and winter-related items around your home. Give the list to your family and have them find all the items on the list.
  7. Jack Frost nipping at your nose: On cold winter days, snuggle by the fire with a good holiday book and a cup of hot chocolate. Don’t forget the marshmallows!
  8. Make reading a key ingredient: Following a recipe is a great way to practice reading, comprehension and math skills. By baking holiday cookies or cakes, you can get the whole family involved.
  9. Sing Christmas carols: Get together with your neighbours and go door-to-door singing carols. Singing encourages learning patterns of words, rhymes and rhythms, and is strongly connected to language skills.
  10. Play for Literacy! Put on your pajamas and have a family game night. Each family member chooses a game, such as a board game or card game, then have fun playing all night long!