Helping children succeed in school is one of the most important and challenging tasks for parents. Every student has their path to success, and it can be challenging to find the best ways to enable and encourage your child. Fortunately, there’s a tried-and-true model which breaks learners into seven categories. The theory proposes that every child has their way of interpreting and retaining information. If you can find out which group your child belongs to, you can be much more effective in helping them succeed.

Visual (Spatial)

Visual learning is a pretty straightforward concept. This style includes students who learn best with visual aids, like graphs or images which reinforce the learning material. While words and ideas can elude visual learners, they connect powerfully with things they can see with their own two eyes.

If your child has a good sense of direction and a general awareness of their surroundings, this may apply to them. Visual learners also enjoy activities like coloring or drawing and have an excellent understanding of the relationships between colors. An effective way to help your visual child is to include pictures, images and maps whenever possible to supplement their curriculum. In an English class, it might be helpful to show them a movie clip related to the material they’re reading. Their math classes could be bolstered with drawings to exemplify the numerical concepts they’re learning.

Solitary (Intrapersonal)

Intrapersonal learners are usually introverts, but this category can also include extroverts who naturally learn better when they’re alone. These are students with vivid personal life, including journaling, writing, and independent thinking. Most intrapersonal students are also highly fixated on results and goals with an emphasis on self-reflection.

If your child is a solitary learner, encourage them to create a comfortable and distraction-free study zone. Give them their space when they’re working and respect their privacy as much as you can. These students may have a difficult time retaining information in the crowded atmosphere of a classroom as well, which might require extra hours spent at home to catch up.

Social (Interpersonal)

Social learners are the kids who love hanging out with their peers. These are teamwork-oriented individuals who thrive when working in groups and struggle on their own. They usually feel the need to bounce their ideas off others before committing to them and can return the favor as well, being excellent listeners.

While you can’t always create a social environment for your child’s learning, you can do your best to be present for them. Let them know that you’re still there to listen to their ideas and work with them on their assignments. Help them create study groups of similar students and encourage them to develop academic networks.

Logical (Mathematical)

Mathematical minds are those most inclined towards the fields of engineering, mathematics, or science. For these learners, the lesson itself is not usually sufficient. These are the kids who are always asking “why?” and are never satisfied until they know the reasons behind everything.

Logical learners love to classify things, calculate numbers, and create specific problem-solving strategies. If you can gear these natural inclinations towards their studies, logical students can be hugely successful. A lot of logical students struggle with the more abstract tendencies of English and liberal arts classes, but you can use their rational leanings to their advantage. Have them break literature down and attack it as if it were a math problem. Teach them the mathematical underpinnings of music and art. Anything you can do to make things less abstract and more rational will help a logical student.

Physical (Kinesthetic)

The kinesthetic learner is the athlete, the physical learner, and the active child. Kids who love to go outside, run around, and get dirty are most often kinesthetic learners, retaining information best when there is a physical component to the lesson. Kids like this tend to struggle in traditional classrooms.

It’s not always easy to incorporate physical elements into traditional assignments, but there are ways to do it. Remember that vague concepts make little sense to these learners, so try your best to place lessons in the physical world for them. Turn flashcards into a game of catch or make physical representations of math problems for them to move around with their hands. You can also encourage them to stretch their legs regularly during study sessions and go for a walk or jog if they get frustrated with something.

Verbal (Linguistic)

Verbal learners respond strongly to both spoken and written word. These students find that they can learn best when things are thoroughly explained or written out clearly on paper. Students in this category are often most successful in public speaking, writing, and debate.

If your child is an avid reader with an excellent vocabulary, you may have a verbal learner on your hands. They probably also have a taste for riddles, tongue twisters, and rhymes while enjoying the process of learning new words. Verbal learners are in luck since most education systems are designed with this type of learner in mind. Most classes possess brief lectures and written assignments, with math and science being the primary exception. Since verbal learners tend to struggle with these subjects, try to find ways to incorporate wordplay or word problems into their lessons. Turn simple math problems into word problems or find literary ways to re-teach science assignments. You can emphasize the language element of these subjects too, getting deep into the vocabulary of the sciences and math, which can help them retain the concepts.

Aural (Auditory-Musical)

One of the unique learning styles, auditory learners are those who respond best to sound. Most musicians find themselves in this class, but it is not limited to the musically-inclined. A lot of times, students learn that they are aural learners as they see themselves retaining information easily during lectures but struggling to work their way through a written curriculum.

If your son or daughter regularly experiences strong emotions when listening to music, they may be an aural learner. Most aural learners also have a strong sense of rhythm and enjoy listening to music while they study or do their homework. They might also frequently have songs randomly pop into their heads and have a hard time getting rid of them. You can help your aural learner by incorporating music into their schoolwork. Create jingles which include concepts they’re learning about or come up with a way to rhyme their study sheets. Let them play appropriate music during their study sessions, as well, since it can help them retain information.

Think about which learning style your child is. Talk to others, like teachers, if they agree. Talk to your child and see what they think. Encouraging your child in their unique learning style will help them be successful in school and later in life.