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

kinesthetic learner

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 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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