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Summer Reading - books for all ages.
Featured Resource

Way They Learn, The


Way They Learn, The

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Publisher: Focus on the Family

Author: Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

List Price: $10.99

Ages: Adult

Reviewed By: Debbie Williams

Every now and then, a book comes along that significantly changes your life. I was first introduced to The Way They Learn when my son was an infant and I received the book as a gift from my mother-in-law. As I read it, I was amazed, excited, and encouraged. My only regret was that I didn't have this book in my toolbox as a public school teacher many years ago.

Although there are many books written on the subject of learning styles, modalities, and personalities, The Way They Learn speaks in a way that most parents and teachers can relate to. The author writes in a practical rather than clinical style, introducing the various modalities as if they had personalities of their own. While reading, you can easily recognize yourself and your family members in the style descriptions. Better still, you will be motivated to read on, discovering more about what makes your child tick and how you can better reach him in your homeschooling experience.

Basing her book on the Gregoric Model of Learning Styles, Ms. Tobias introduces the various points of view, learning styles, and their combinations. There are two points of view: Perception (the way we take in information) and Ordering (the way we use the information we perceive). Perception consists of Concrete Perception using the five senses and Abstract Perception using intuition and imagination. Using what we know can be ordered by Sequential Ordering (linear, sequential, logical) and Random Ordering (organized in chunks without step-by-step sequencing). When you put together all the combinations of Gregoric's views, you are left with Four Combinations of perception and ordering abilities. Each of us has a dominant or strong ability, but most of us are a combination of two or more of these styles. Be sure to keep this in mind as you read through the book and apply it to your own teaching methods.

Concrete Sequential (CS) is hardworking, conventional, accurate, stable, dependable, consistent, factual, and organized.

Abstract Sequential (AS) is analytic, objective, knowledgeable, thorough, structured, logical, deliberate, and systematic.

Abstract Random (AR) is sensitive, compassionate, perceptive, imaginative, idealistic, sentimental, spontaneous, and flexible.

Concrete Random (CR) is quick, intuitive, curious, realistic, creative, innovative, instinctive, and adventurous.

Discovering your own personal learning style is the first step to determining the styles of each of your children, teaching them in a way that they will best understand and apply the information they have learned. Each of the combinations is covered in depth, from What Do They Do Best, What Makes the Most Sense to Them, What's Hard For Them, and What Questions Do They Ask When Learning. This comparison is an invaluable tool if you can't quite decide which style you or your little learner really falls into.

Lastly, and most importantly to a parent and teacher, is the summary for each style: What People with Other Styles Admire Most about people with this style, Negative Perceptions by People with Other Styles, and Ten Commandments for Getting Along with those possessing this style. Teaching at home is easily demystified by using the insights of where to study, inner time clocks, and how to get them to do their homework.

The three basic modalities of remembering what we have learned are covered as well, introducing us to the specific ways our children process information: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. I'm sure you'll recognize your little Wiggle Worm in the kinesthetic modality description, and possibly yourself or spouse in the auditory section. Again, there are overlaps, but most of us process information using predominantly ONE modality. Auditory Learners learn by listening to verbal instructions and forming sounds of words; easily recognized by constant chatter and thinking out loud. Visual Learners remember best by seeing and watching, and use strong visual associations such as mental imagery or lists. Kinesthetic Learners are hands-on learners, becoming physically involved and doing something with the facts or concepts they have learned. Tips for creating the best learning environment for each modality are contained in the book, along with suggestions for lessons.

Discovering the learning style of your child, as well as that of yourself and others in your household, is the first step to becoming the very best teacher you can possibly be.
More Information
Available From: Focus on the Family
Address: 8605 Explorer Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Other Notes:
Purchase Now From the Eclectic Homeschool Resource Center
Debbie Williams
Debbie Williams is a parent educator, homeschooling mom, and founder of the online organizing site
Copyright © 2002 Eclectic Homeschool Association
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