We Are All Multi-sensory Learners

Today’s post is a re-blog from 2013 from a friend Gail Terp who does a fabulous job providing books, activities, games and links using a multi-sensory approach to learning.

We Are All Multisensory Learners!   by Gail Terp

How do you learn best? Would you rather to listen to an explanation? Read about the subject? Watch a demonstration? Conduct some trial-and-error experiments on your own? Perform a combination of the above? This last choice is an example of multisensory learning.

Multisensory learning is when we use visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile ways to learn and to remember what we learn. We link our visual (what we see), auditory (what we hear), and kinesthetic/tactile (movement/what we feel) pathways.

Multisensory learning works for everyone and it especially works for children. As adults, we have learned how to gather information using whatever modes are available to us. When we are presented information in just one way, such as in a book or through a lecture, we’ve figured out, more or less, how to get what we need. Children usually haven’t learned how to do that.

Multisensory teaching, providing learning experiences that combine more than one sense, is often recommended for students with learning difficulties. But really, it’s important for all learners. Why? There are several reasons. Using more than one sense:

·     helps to compensate for a weaker sense

·    is more engaging

·    helps overcome distractions (they’re everywhere!)

·    opens up more ways to gather information

·    helps build memory of what is learned

·    taps into nonverbal reasoning skills

·    is more fun

The Lexicon Reading Center  http://www.lexiconreadingcenter.org/what-is-multisensory-teaching-techniques.htmloffers many multisensory techniques that can be used to assist in learning. Here is a modified list:

To stimulate visual reasoning and learning:

·        Posters, computers or flash cards

·         Using color for highlighting, organizing information or imagery

·         Student-created art, images, text, pictures and video

Auditory techniques

·         Books on tape, paired reading (read text together, either simultaneously or taking turns) and computerized text readers

·         Video or film with accompanying audio

·         Music, song, instruments, speaking, rhymes, chants and language games

Tactile teaching methods (using the sense of touch)

·         Sand trays, raised line paper, textured objects, finger paints and puzzles to improve fine motor skills

·         Modeling materials such as clay and sculpting materials

·         Using small materials (manipulatives) to represent number values to teach math skills

Kinesthetic methods (using body movements)

·         Pair jumping rope, clapping, or other movements with counting and singing songs related to concepts.

·         Pair large movement activities (dancing, bean bag tossing), with rhythmic recall and academic competition such as quizzes, flash card races and other learning games.

 Additional resources to look at:

Reading Rockets  http://www.readingrockets.org/article/6332/

Lexicon Reading Center  http://www.lexiconreadingcenter.org/

International Dyslexia Associationhttp://www.interdys.org/

This Reading Mamahttp://thisreadingmama.com/2013/06/09/multi-sensory-activities-teaching-reading/

Heidi Songshttp://www.heidisongs.com/ (Be sure to check out free downloads)

Gail is a retired elementary teacher. She writes kids’ books and is currently working on a non-fiction series about animals and nature.   She also runs a blog for kids who hate to read.

You can visit her at: http://www.gailterp.com

                     gail photo