By: Jessica Drake-Simmons M.S. CCC-SLP
Does helping your child with their homework ever feel like a laborious task? These learning strategies will help you teach your child in a way that increases their understanding and retention. Above all, these tips are meant to make the learning journey an enjoyable experience for all of those involved!
- Relate new information to known information. Our brains are pattern-seeking devices. They are always searching for associations between information being received and information already stored. Linking new information with familiar information creates a connection that your brain will hold on to.
- Multi-Sensory involvement: the more varied experiences a child has with a new concept, the more neural pathways will be developed. Whenever possible, teach the concept in a way that the child can experience. If your child is learning about volcanoes, you can have them:
Role play being a volcano OR create a visual Venn Diagram comparing it to something they already know about.
- Active learning-the more a child is involved with the information, the more efficiently he will consolidate and recall it. When a child passively receives information, he will understand and remember less. Passively receiving information would be listening to a lecture or passing your eyes over the print from beginning to end in a chapter. Active learning would involve making predictions about the chapter, taking notes and discussing what was read or learned.
- Rhythm and Music: Rhythm and music stimulates both sides of the brain. It activates our attention system and multiple neural pathways which facilitates memory and retrieval. Create a song, set to a familiar tune that reviews key concepts in a curricular area. Memorizing the 50 states, days of the week, or spelling words can all be easier when taught within a song or chant.
- Movement: Adding movement to an activity provides extra-sensory input and enhances attention. Movement helps increase cognitive function while also helping children get rid of “the wiggles”.
It is also beneficial for children to have downtime for movement built into their days. Many studies have found that students who exercise do better in school. Exercise triggers the release of a substance that enhances cognition by boosting the ability of neurons to communicate with each other. Below are some ideas to incorporate movement into learning:
- Air writing letters
- Playing charades to act out a history lesson
- If the answer is correct, make a sign like a referee
- Jumping on the trampoline while doing math facts
- Playing catch while reviewing information
- Humor– Humor wakes up the brain cells! It also encourages attention and relieves stress. Humor keeps learning an enjoyable experience for teachers, parents and children. Using humor lets students have an increased feeling of safety in making an error or getting an answer wrong. Make time for laugh breaks to keep your child alert and attentive while learning
- Reflection– Downtime is important to help the brain process new information and strengthen neural connections. Have your child learn and study in small chunks of time. Implement breaks for movement, listening to music, doodling or having a snack.
For more information on strategies for learning and about Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley, visit: eastersealsdfvr.org.