Sensory learning is an important part of growth for our children throughout their school careers. The goal is to stimulate children’s senses in multiple ways. This also encourages them to use their senses to teach themselves new things.
Multisensory learning is using more than one sense with the assumption that it offers a better learning experience. There are four different types of sensory learning used in multisensory learning.
- Visual (sight): a visual learner responds best to symbols and graphics. Arrows, charts, and diagrams are most helpful where photos or videos may not be.
- Auditory (hearing): an auditory learner responds best when they can hear the information vocally. Examples of this would be listening to someone speak about a topic or an audiobook. However, these children tend to skip taking notes during that time so that their attention is not broken, and they are able to retain the information better.
- Tactile (touch): The reading and writing learners do best when they are given printouts, forms, or presentations that they can read and follow along with. The writing aspect of this learning style also comes into play as they take notes or write out the material. This helps the children process the information as they write it, and it becomes easier to recall it over time.
- Kinesthetic (body or motor movement): These learners are hands-on learners who need to participate or “do” in order to retain and understand what they are learning. Many kinesthetic learners struggle in conventional classroom settings.
Multisensory learning is a highly effective strategy because combining more than one of the types of learning above offers a unique experience for the learner and creates an environment where people can thrive. Apart from the four types of sensory learning above, taste, smell, and even balance can be used in multisensory learning.
Why does Multisensory Learning Work?
Multisensory learning is deemed so effective because it gives every student the same shot at learning successfully. When teaching a lesson using this method, the teacher can engage everyone at the same time while still targeting the learning style of each student.
Another advantage of multisensory learning is that it not only caters to different types of learners but all ages as well. Adults have also been known to thrive in environments that use multisensory learning techniques.
Multisensory Learning for Reading Instruction
While the multisensory learning style is used for many different learning activities, reading is the most popular one of all. Reading is one of the biggest struggles that children face, so being able to teach all students of all different learning styles is a major advantage for the teacher and the student.
Anyone who has dyslexia also benefits from multisensory learning because it triggers all the parts of the brain. Dyslexia can affect literacy skills in children and adults by making it harder to break language down. With the right support, learning can be something to look forward to instead of something to dread.
Multisensory Learning Activities for Reading and Writing
- Writing in sand or shaving cream incorporates visual, auditory, and tactile learning styles.
- Air writing or sky writing is kinesthetic and incorporates muscle memory. It also helps to reinforce the sound each letter makes and encourages the learner to visualize the letter as they write it.
- Sandpaper letters incorporate tactile and auditory styles of learning because the kids can trace the letters while saying them out loud and feeling the shape of the letter as they trace it.
- Magnetic letters incorporate auditory and tactile styles, as many of the other examples do. The use of magnetic letters also allows the learner to have the vowels in one color and consonants in another.
- Read it, build it, write it exercise is when the teacher reads the work and has the student say the word as well. Then, students build the word with magnetic letters. Lastly, write the word using any of the above methods or pencil and paper.
Engaging Multiple Senses in All Subjects
Multisensory learning is also a great tool for teaching English as a second language. Using the same techniques as listed above, it helps to break down the word and teach it in a simple but effective way. It also teaches proper pronunciation and can make learning English or any word much less daunting.
In truth, all school subjects benefit from the use of multisensory learning. Singing songs to remember countries in geography, building with legos during a math lesson, and conducting experiments in science are examples of how teachers can reach students of all learning styles.
One of the most effective ways to teach geography using multisensory learning is continent boxes. A continent box brings together all different types of the learning highlighted above while teaching the child numerous things about that continent. You can fill the box with anything you want, ranging from books and music to flags and money. You can also use the money in the boxes to work on math as well.
If multisensory learning is a priority to you as a parent, making sure to find a good preschool that uses this style of teaching. Adjusting to a new preschool can be hard. It’s essential to make sure your child is part of an effective and engaging learning environment.
Multisensory learning will continue to cater to all types and styles of learning. Though you may run into some parents who want to offer their opinions about what they think is best, there are many ways to deal with them as you make the right move for you and your child.
Multisensory learning has taken learning to a new level that helps everyone succeed. It can offer the teacher and the student a sense of peace knowing that no matter what teaching style is used, they will be able to gain knowledge from it. This makes learning something that becomes fun and exciting instead of dreadful because your child will know that they have a good chance of success no matter what the subject is.