Teaching the Verbal Learner
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When I was in college, I loved learning about the multiple intelligences. Understanding how different people, especially students, learn was and has always been a fascination of mine. I love trying to figure out how to best reach each and every child. This has served me well for many years as I taught 2nd and 3rd graders in the public schools as well as various Sunday School classes and homeschooling co-ops.
This has served me well with my own children as well. Like the typical family, we sent our oldest son off to half-day kindergarten (really it was like 3 1/2 hours, but who's counting). You can read our story here and here.
You see, he would get in trouble for talking during class. Being a teacher myself, I understand that this cannot happen in a class of 20+ kindergarteners. I remember the call well. "Mrs. Mollohan. This is Mrs. ___, your son's teacher. We would like to put him on a behavior chart." "What?! Why?" "Well, he talks a lot in class." "Oh, I see. I didn't know this was happening. My husband and I will talk with him this evening about it. Does he talk with other children when he's not supposed to?" "Well, no. He talks to me during class." "Is he off topic?" "Well, no. He is talking about what we are learning about, but he doesn't raise his hand." #1 - The teacher needs to teach him to raise his hand. #2 -
Ok, I get it. I've been there. You can't have one child talking with an entire classroom of children. But, really? He's going to be on a behavior chart because he is interested in what you are teaching him and he wants to talk further with you about it? Nope. We had already decided to homeschool him once we moved from Indiana to Oregon in about a month. Fine. We'll do the behavior chart for a month.
Our oldest is definitely a verbal learner. I know "officially" this probably goes underneath the "auditory" learner, but I like to call it "verbal" because some "auditory" learners don't need to talk about what they've learned in order to internalize it. For some information, our oldest NEEDS to talk about it. Especially when he was younger, he would talk to himself. He would talk about something he read or watched on tv. Now, don't think he's crazy, I know a lot of children that do this.
To go along with this, he hated writing. I mean he HATED writing. He would just "shut down" if he had to write. This reminds me of something else that I learned from his Kindergarten teacher. He would cry everyday. What?! Why did I know this before. Here it is March and I'm just now finding out that he cries everyday. Why does he cry? Because he had to sit there for 2 hours doing 8-9 worksheets every day.
Writing has always been difficult for him and it is probably his least favorite thing to do even now. I had to work and work and WORK with him in order to get him to write. Writing is not something that I could just not do with him. Writing is an essential skill that everyone needs to learn.
So I have a child who hates to write, but will talk about things with me if I approach it right. BINGO! That's the answer. When we came to answering questions about something that was read, I would read the questions for him and he would just tell me his answer. If he needed to correct a sentence for Grammar practice, he would tell me what needed to be changed while I wrote it on the paper. Why does he have to write everything when it was just him, me, and his little brother? I can do that for him. I can allow him to internalize the information in the way that works best for him. I mean the whole point of completing the assignment is so that he learns the information, right?
Just another perk of homeschooling.
You can actually teach the way that your child learns.
Would I do this for everything? No way. By doing it this way, he was still learning while we built up his writing skills and tolerance.
Even now, while he is officially in 8th grade, but he is doing all high school work, we still do some of his work orally. He is taking Greek 4 right now and in the places where he has to translate something from Greek to English, I allow him to do those portions orally. He has to write all of the Greek, though (which is most of the writing).
In his history class, he has to answer 10 questions at the end of each lesson. We use this as a discussion time in order for him to develop his thoughts on what he read and verbalize what he has learned. I actually get better (and longer) answers when he is able to talk about it compared to when he has to write it down.
Last year, with his science, he learned it so much better when I read it to him. I would stop and have him summarize what he's learned so far.
Keep them on task and keep them talking about what they are supposed to be talking about. If they get stuck, ask them leading questions like "What do you think about what that character did?" or "Why would someone do that?"
Should they talk all of the time. By no means. They need to learn the balance of talking as well as when and where it is okay to ask questions and/or talk. They also need to be shown that it is okay to be quiet and to talk in their own heads (thinking is good).
Mommas, let your talker talk. They need it.
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