How to Teach and Reach Children with a Kinesthetic Learning Style?

kinesthetic learning style

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Children who have a kinesthetic learning style are usually easy to spot. They're the kids who can't seem to sit still. They use their senses to help them learn. Teaching reading to a kinesthetic learner is a much easier if you understand the best way to communicate with them.

Do any of the below characteristics sound familiar?

Common Characteristics of a kinesthetic learning style:

  • Very active – like to move around while listening or talking

  • Often talk with their hands

  • Touch things in order to learn about them

  • Remember things by recalling who did what rather than who said what

  • Touch and feel everything – rub hands on walls, furniture, halls as they move

  • Like to find out how things work

  • Their lips move when they read

  • Learn best through movement

  • Communicate through body language and movement

  • Shows you rather than tells you

  • Responds to physical rewards and touching

  • Often move and talk slowly

  • Fidgets a lot

  • May stand closer than a visual child

  • Needs to explore their environment more than other kids

  • Is often unaware of their own movement and distracted by movement of others


Kinesthetic learners are good at the following:

  • Have Natural athletic ability

  • Good at dramatic arts

  • Being creative and using their imagination

  • Good at taking things apart and putting them back together



kinesthetic learner

Kinesthetic learners face challenges with the following:

  • May need to be moving in order to learn (makes classroom learning a challenge)

  • Often labeled with ADD or hyperactivity because they have trouble learning in a traditional classroom setting (but more and more schools are changing to address the needs of tactile learners)

  • Older kinesthetic or tactile learners (6+) are often classified as underachievers in school

  • Doesn't usually enjoy reading or spelling



How to help your kinesthetic learner:

  • Allow them to be active while you read to them

  • Let them participate in drama

  • Encourage them to participate in science or lab experiments

  • Go on field trips

  • Have them move their fingers under words as they read

  • Watch them perform skits and dances

  • Have them make models

  • Utilize lots of “hands on” activities to perform learning (i.e., learn how to count while cooking or playing hopscotch)

  • Provide quiet time after physical activities

  • Task rewards may work well

  • Play board games

  • Use competitions to motivate your kinesthetic learner

  • Make it harder to move than to sit still (such as moving desk against wall)

  • Allow for planned times for movement

  • Work with teachers to ensure the best learning environment in the classroom

  • Fun games and activities are especially helpful to engage kinesthetic learners

  • Incorporate subjects that are especially interesting to your tactile learner to capture their desire to learn


What books are best for kids with a kinesthetic learning style?

  • Adventure books

  • Interactive books



What games are best for children with a kinesthetic learning style?

  • Board games

  • Interactive reading games

  • Interactive computer games

  • Drag and drop games

  • Matching games

  • Role playing games

  • Phonics games



Visit our Reading Games for Kids page to see our favorite games.




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