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Classics Suggested Reading

Easy Reader Classics

This charming series features classic stories from beloved children's novels rewritten in a simple style. Now even the youngest readers can enjoy many of the world's favorite tales. Favorites include: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Jungle Book, Treasure Island, and more.
Ages: 5 to 7

Classic Starts
For those who are a little older and more advanced in their reading skills, the Classic Starts series presents classic tales in easy to understand, short stories.
Ages: 7 to 9

Illustrated Classics Series
Illlustrated by Robert Ingpen, this beautiful series of illustrated classics will delight young readers and parents alike. From all-time favorites to seasonal stories like A Night Before Christmas, this series will continue to delight for years to come.
Ages: 10+

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October 4, 2011

Learning Styles

In school, children learn about the five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. There are three key learning styles based on these senses: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (sensory). Which kind of young learners do you know?

Visual Learners
Children that prefer using pictures and images are visual learners. These kids typically translate even printed words into images in their minds. Creating a visual representation of information is the best way to help visual learners understand information--and remember it!

There are many ways you can provide such children with opportunities to absorb and organize information visually. Try some of the following:
  • Visual kids tend to have a strong sense of color and love playing with different shades. Offer them bright crayons or markers so they can draw pictures or write words in bold colors. 
  • When practicing sight words, have your child write each word on an index card using an eye-catching color, then draw a picture to match the word. For extra practice, have your child sort the cards into groups of synonyms or related words.  
  • Use images to teach addition or subtraction, too! Draw groups of simple shapes, tiny animals, or household items on cards. Create a card for each of the numerals one through twenty. Then put the cards into different pairings to show how they come together to add (" A card with two bugs and a card wth three bugs makes a total of five bugs!") or separate to subtract ("If you have five bugs in total and you take away the card with three bugs, you are left with two bugs.").
  • Consider incorporating other visual materials into learning, too. Some ideas to try: dry erase boards, charts and maps, and puzzles.

Auditory Learners 

Auditory Learners learn best through the use of sounds or music. If a child sings or hums throughout the day, even when there is no music playing, it is a good sign that he or she is an auditory learner. These learners benefit most when information is conveyed verbally.

Help auditory learners by taking advantage of their listening abilities. Consider these ideas to foster their understanding:
  • Use your voice. Since these children enjoy listening, your voice is one the best tools at your disposal. So go ahead and get loud. Read aloud, recite directions, sing silly songs, and reel off some poetry.
  • Ask auditory learners to read to you, too. Reading aloud or reciting information they've received help these kids make sense of what they're learning.
  • Don't underestimate the importance of music. Singing songs that relate to a particular topic can further cement information into an auditory learner's brain. Similarly, creating simple rhymes or mnemonics can prove quite useful.
  • Some useful auditory materials to keep in mind include: headset, tape or digital recorder, and plenty of music: melodies, rhythms, and beats!

Kinesthetic Learners 

Classrooms traditionally cater to visual and auditory learners, but there is a third learning style to consider: kinesthetic, or sensory. Kinesthetic learners thrive on hands-on experiences, often making use of their senses of taste, touch, and smell. Schools have started to recognize that many young children are kinesthetic learners, and the use of manipulatives is becoming common classroom practice. Every child is different though; kinesthetic learners tend to prefer working with particular types of materials.

Wet Sensory - Some children really enjoy manipulating wet materials. If you know children like this, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty! Below are some ways to encourage learning for wet sensory learners:
  • Water is a great place to start. Take advantage of bathtime, or play and learn in a sink or at a water table. For example, place a bunch of toy animals into the water and have children sort them into various categories (by size, by color, or by class--mammals, reptiles, birds, etc.). Or provide a measuring cup for practice with numbers and measuring.
  • Shaving cream can also provide an exciting and messy way for wet sensory learners to learn. Ask these children to spread the foam across a table. Then they can use their fingers to practice writing in the foam--letters, numbers, and so on.
  • Get creative with choosing media for wet sensory learners: finger paints, paper-mache, mud, and many household food items, like jelly, can be turned into useful learning tools.

Dry Sensory - Other kinesthetic learners may not like to get very messy, and prefer interacting with dry materials. Try some of these ideas:
  • Collect nuts or seeds on a nature walk. Items like these can lead to all kinds of learning. For example, discuss the plants from which they come or the animals that eat them. Count and sort them. Incorporate them into an arts and crafts project.  
  • Some children find never-ending delight playing with sand. At the beach or at a sand table, dry sensory kids can sift, dig, and build sandcastles. But sand can be used in other ways, too. Ask kids to cut out letters from paper and glue sand to them. They can use these to practice phonics and spelling. 
  • Provide costumes and props and allow children to act out things they have learned to help them retain the information.
  • There is no limit to the kinds of dry materials that can stimulate learning: leaves, dried corn, cotton, flour to name a few.

Whether you are working on reading, math, science, or creative free play, knowing the learning styles of the children you're working with is beneficial. This knowledge allows you to tailor activities to the specific child. Your little learners will gain and retain so much more, and they will have a lot more fun doing so!


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