Learning Styles & Spelling Ideas

This is educational information I wrote in 2009.

This page includes an Introduction to the Learning Styles, Attributes of Learning Styles, Child’s Strengths, and Spelling Ideas using the learning styles.

Learning Styles Introduction

Several different learning styles theories have developed in the past decades, each analyzing and hypothesizing the ways in which individuals process and perceive information from their environment.The theories have been incorporated into many educational settings as a tool to gain insights about the way children learn. Sometimes business corporations will evaluate employee learning styles. Adults might research their own mode of learning just for fun.

But even though multiple learning styles exist, there is no definitive scientific proof explaining how and why a child learns best, and to date no one learning theory has been agreed upon or recognized by all; in fact, some sectors of society have concerns regarding the learning style theories in general.

Although most people will agree there is value to be gained in evaluating the way in which a child processes information.

For example, if I find my son finishes his math flash cards twenty-minutes faster on the floor as opposed to sitting in a chair, I can file that knowledge for the next time he practices his math facts.

By observing where my child is in his environment and how he responds to stimuli, I can make conjectures and predictions about how to best present information and make natural and easy adjustments in the environment to fit his needs.

But at the same time I am making modifications in the learning environment, I keep in mind I am basing my changes on observation and opinion alone.

While I know for a fact my child has brown eyes, and will still have brown eyes the following day, I am not able to predict my child’s behavior will be the same from one day to the next.

Likewise, upon seeing my son, you would concur he has brown eyes, but you might not agree with my observations and resulting conjectures regarding my son’s learning behavior.

Still, common sense tells me, if my child is excelling giving a set of certain conditions, that recreating those conditions might produce the same effect, and likewise, if my child is struggling because of given circumstances, then changing those circumstances would be beneficial.

I use the learning style theories as I would a magnifying glass. I use the ideas presented in the different theories to look more carefully at my own child to see if I notice some trait or characteristic in his processing that I might not have noticed before.

I do not use the theories as a “catch all” or to “label” my child. A child’s mind is far to complex to place into one arena.

In looking at myself I can safely say I am a visual learner. I need lists. I need to rewrite the lists several times. I see memories in pictures. I have a hard time remembering names. But at the same time I am an auditory learner, as I like to talk, I like to hear myself talk, and I will repeat words to myself to remember. And sometimes, I use a more kinesthetic approach and need to be in the middle of something with my hands touching to truly understand how something works.

I don’t have to place myself in one learning style category. But looking at the specifics helps me to recognize things about myself I might not have taken note of prior.

The Kinesthetic Learner

The Kinesthetic Learner or Tactile Learner (aka: The Interactive Learner)

* learns by doing, discovering, and touching.

* will often wiggle, doodle, tap, move constantly, drum fingers, rock, switch positions.

* uses body movement and gestures, e.g. “talking with their hands” and touching others.

* can be moody and emotional and learn through emotions.

* requires physical activity and movement and benefit from hands-on activity.

* capable taking things apart and putting things back together.

* enjoys activities with touch such as: fieldtrips, typing, science experiments, crafts, and knitting.

* learns through mastery and practice.

* Distracted easily by environment and need breaks from routine.

* Remember who, what and when, instead of visual images or sounds.

* tend to have hobbies which involve collecting and exploration.

* drawn towards physical sports, like martial arts.

* may have an intolerance for hard surfaces and prefer walking or standing to sitting.

* gains knowledge through practical experience, manipulating objects, trying things outt and being actively involved.

* challenges with penmanship and spelling.

*Is not very attentive to visual or auditory presentations and often a poor listener.

If you are a kinesthetic learner you might have a hard time sitting still and reading all of this and might be tapping your foot or pencil.

Visual Learner

The Visual Learner:

* learns by seeing and watching information

* receives information from pictures, images, videos and photographs. Would benefit from flashcards, slideshows, charts, maps, and diagrams. Prefers visual arts

* observes facial expressions and body language to figure out how to respond to the speaker

* easily visualizes objects, words and pictures, sometimes appears to be daydreaming or staring of into space, and has a vivid imagination

* enjoys reading materials and benefits from pre-reading or skimming over reading material

* can benefit from writing notes and recopying notes

* has a good memory for visual information and can recall where words or pictures were located on a page; may remember where things are stored in cabinets and on shelves

* prefers a quiet place to study and may like to observe a situation for a while before actively participating

* is generally neat and organized and may be queit

* becomes impatient or distracted easily during long lectures

* Benefits from field trips and performing experiments

* Often asks for verbal instructions to be repeated

* writes down directions, draws, takes detailed notes

* may have a hard time remembering names

* prefers visual media like: video games, computer, and television

If you are a visual learner you might print out this page, highlight the page, and take notes on the paper.

The Auditory Learner

The Auditory Learner (aka Aural Learner):

* learns by listening and through verbalization.

* is sensitive to the tone and inflection of your voice. A child might question the way an adult is speaking. Perhaps asking, “Are you mad?”

* may replay words to themselves, repeat words and phrases aloud and be very vocal.

* hums or talks to self and usually not quite for a length of time.

* will prefer information delivered orally, like in lectures or speeches.

* might enjoy book discussions, book clubs or a group study situation, prefers to discuss thing with others.

* talks at length and may enjoy listening to their own voice.

* enjoys reading aloud, listening to a book on c.d. or listening to music. They can reproduce numbers, letters, and symbols after hearing them.

* might learn better with some type of noise in the background such as classical music. Others will be distracted by background sounds.

* when remembering a certain event, they might recall the sounds they hear.

* use phrases with word “sound” in it. “That sounds like a great idea!”

* have difficulty following written instructions but they will follow verbal instructions well. They may perform better on oral tests verses written tests.

If you are an auditory learner you might prefer to listen to these facts on a c.d. or have someone explain this to you aloud. You might want to talk about this with someone.


Celebrate your child’s strengths. Ideas for recognizing your child’s strengths. 

Courage: Able to face fears, volunteers in front of a crowd, deals with a challenge on an ongoing basis, speaks his mind, faces his faults.

Humor: Has a great wit, makes others laugh, comes up with new ideas in an entertaining way, has a smile on her face, able to look at the alternative situation or the bright side.

Flexibility: Able to bend with the program, adjusts to change readily, loves to do things at the spur of the moment, will try things a different way.

Adventurous: Encourages others to participate in new endeavors, looks forward to waking up in the morning, filled with enthusiasm for life, loves the outdoors and discovering new facts in books.

Capacity to Learn: Grasps new information easily, a good team member, listens and seeks others out, able to concentrate for a long period of time, shares his knowledge with others.

Leadership: Inspires others, organizes information, comes up with ideas and shares with others, assists people, challenges authority, questions the boundaries.

Creativity: Sees things in a new way, able to reorganize thoughts, ideas, and facts and present them to others, comes up with things you hadn’t thought of, loves to draw, dance, or produce creative works, not afraid of trying different approaches, bores easily from the same routine.

Intuition: Understands others actions and feelings, able to identify her own inner feelings, makes decisions after reflection and thought, notices when others need help or are int trouble, avoids certain situation or people.

Analytical: Able to decipher information, evaluates, observes and makes hypothesis, forms his own opinions, experiments. Likes numbers or recalculating data, explores all sides of a topic or situation, debates, questions others’ ideas and theories, second-guesses authority, speaks his mind.

Organizational: Keeps things tidy and in place, organizes thoughts on paper, able to construct paragraph essays, remembers where things are, keeps lists, tidies bedroom, likes to help clean.

Drive: Motivates self, follows through with ideas and plans, sets goals, produces work, goes beyond what is expected. Surprises you, full of energy and hope. Optimistic.

Focus: Concentrate for long periods of time. Produces large quantities of work in little time, works on the same project without stopping. Highly interested in certain topic or idea. Enjoys researching and learning new facts.

Faith: Strong belief in God. An openness and willingness to conquer the day. An ability to inspire hope and courage in others. Sees the good and opportunity others might overlook.

Athletic: Coordinated and accomplished in sports. Has endurance. Excels in areas involving physical activity. Has energy and enjoys the outdoors.

Energetic: Full of energy. Gets other people moving and going. Inspires others with zest for life. Capable of continuing an activity when others are ready to stop.

Helpful: Is the first to come to someones assistance. Keeps a look out for others. Caters to others’ needs. Has a compassion for people. Shares and uplifts. Suggests ideas.


V=Visual Learner; A=Auditory Learner; K=Kinesthetic Learner

Beyond the Basics Spelling Fun  Spelling ideas matched to the learning styles.     Copyright @2009

1. List vocabulary words on the left hand side of a page and write definitions on the right side. V

2. Cut a piece of cardboard about the size of a compact disc case and a long piece of yarn. Make one slit in the cardboard along both sides for each vocabulary word. Write a definition on one side and the word on the other. Thread the yarn to match the word to definition. V, K

3. Say the definitions aloud or spelling words aloud into a tape recorder, to yourself, or to another person. A

4. Write words on index cards and place the cards on the floor. Jump to each card when the teacher says the definition, say the definition when you land on the card, or pick up the word cards and place them on the definition card. A, K

Alternative: Write one word on one side and the definition on the other side; when you land near a card, flip it over and say the definition. For spelling, stand on the card and spell the word aloud. V, A, K
(Make a path leading to a treat or reward.)

5. Write antonyms and synonyms for the words. V
Shout out antonyms and synonyms for the words. A

6. Write the words in present, future, and past tense. V
Write the words backwards, diagonally, in a circle, in the tiniest letters possible, etc.

7. Use a dictionary or computer to look up the definition of the words. V
Find and use different size dictionaries, such as pocket, over-sized, and thin, and then compare definitions. V, K

8. Use the words to write a personal experience in a journal. V

9. Act out words using no sounds and no objects (pantomime). K

10. Place 20 – 50 vocabulary words face down on the table and randomly choose 10 and write a story, poem, skit, or lyrics. V
Read aloud. A
Act (the story, poem, skit, or lyrics) out. K

11. Write a secret code for every letter in the alphabet and then write your spelling words. V
Ask another person to solve your coded words. V

12. Write your spelling words in Morse Code. V

13. Fold a paper into eight sections, then unfold; on the top of each rectangular box write a vocabulary word, on the bottom write a definition of the word. Write a sentence and draw a picture representing the sentence. V
Pick a square from the folded paper activity and act the sentence out using sounds and objects. A, K

14. Cut out letters from magazines, newspapers, brochures, catalogs, etc. and use the letters to form spelling words. V, K

15. Look up the word origin of different words. V
Explain aloud your findings. A
(extension: locate the countries of origin on an atlas)

16. Write a paragraph with the words. V
Recite the paragraph. A
Act out the paragraph. K

17. Play hangman using your spelling words. V
Play hangman and ring a buzzer when you miss a letter and ring a bell when the letter is correct. A
Play hangman and jump when the letter is wrong, clap when the letter is correct. K
Here is a fun monster walking the plank, “hangman” type of game.
18. Fold a construction paper into a fan shape. Write a word inside of the lines, write a definition on the other side. V
Say a word aloud and fan yourself. A, K

19. Play charades and shout out answers. V, A, K

20. Make a memory match game with index cards. Write each word twice and place the cards face down or write a definition on one card and vocabulary word on the other and find the pairs.V

21. Make a poster with words and symbols for the words and stand up and share the poster with someone. V, A, K

22. Write words on graph paper as follows:







23. Write each word five times each. V
Say word five times each. A
Say word while walking five times each. K
(extension: place the numbers 1-10 on paper strips in a bowl. For each word draw a number. Write the spelling word the number of times on the paper)

24. Keep a word journal for the year. V
Read your journal aloud. A

25. Jump, clap, snap, stomp, etc. the syllables of the words. A, K

26. Throw a soft ball or stuffed animal in the air for vowels, hold the ball for consonants while spelling the word aloud. A, K

27. Sing “Bingo” and substitute the letters. A
e.g. “There was a word I read today and “Paper” was its name- O. P-A-P-E-R.”

28. Make a comic strip with the words. V

29. Alphabetize the words on paper. V
Alphabetize the words on index cards at the table.
Alphabetize the cards across the floor. K

30. Sort words by noun, adjective, adverb, proper nouns, etc. V

31. Scramble the letters of the words. V
Ask another person to unscramble the words.
Cut out each letter of the word and reorganize. V, K

32. Stand up and give an oral word quiz to an adult or sibling. V, A, K

33. Hide the words around the house or yard, and spell the word or say the definition when you find them. K, A

34. Tape words on a door, knock on the right word when given a definition or asked to spell the word aloud. V, A, K

35. Write the words outdoors in chalk or paint. V, K

36. Write rainbow letters: vowel one color, consonants another or alternate every other letter. Leave the vowels out. Leave the consonants out. Remove one letter and ask a younger sibling or parent to guess the letter missing. V, A

37. Write the word in red, trace over the word in yellow, trace over again in blue. V

38. Write in shaving cream, whipped cream, frosting, flour, water in sand, etc.K

39. Use the leaders in the word to make new words: “Stealthily” = health, steal, hill. V

40. Jump rope, skip, trampoline, break dance, twirl, slither, etc. while reciting the words. A, K

41. Paint, watercolor, playdough, glitter, or glue the words. Use glue and colored sand to make the words. K

42. Write words with white crayon on black paper. V

43. Write with toothpick on tinfoil. V, K

44. Hang a string across a doorway, hook on words to paperclips and slide the word across as you announce the word. A, K

45. Use a tile floor or chalk squares and jump in each square when you say a word aloud. A, K

46. Play “Mother May I” with spelling and definition questions. A, K

47. Write a friend a letter using as many words as possible. V(extension: include a secret coded letter)

48. Guess the word aloud by tracing on a partner’s back or palm of hand. A, K

49. Line up a domino for every word you say correctly in spelling or definition and push the dominoes down when you are done. A, K

50. Shuffle a deck of cards. Pick a card. Find a word with that many letters, if you can. Worth 1 point. Can’t find a word. Minus 1 point. Reshuffle and take turns. K(use dice, spinner, etc.)

51. Link, stack, line up blocks, unifix cubes, toothpicks, rocks etc. for each letter in a word. Alternate colors or objects for vowels/consonants. K

53. Write in curly, block, tiny, spiral, or capital letters. V

54. Make a board game with squares. If you spell or guess the definition move forward, if you miss move back. V, A, K

55. Write several action cards with words, such as hop backwards, run in place, skip, dance, slither. Draw a card and spell the word or say the definition while performing the action.K

56. Have a partner place a post-it (or paper with tape) on child’s back with a vocabulary word or spelling word. Don’t look at the word. Ask your partner yes/no questions about the word: “Is it in the first part of the alphabet?” “Is it a noun?” “Does it have two syllables?” Try to guess the word by looking at a list of words. Repeat with other person. A, V

57. Make paper chains with one spelling word on each slip of paper and connect the papers. Alternate colors. V, K

58. Make up a rap song that rhymes using the spelling words and do a dance to go with the song. Make up a cheer. A, K

59. Write your spelling words on one piece of paper using different mediums, such as watercolor, markers and colored pencil. V, K

60. Try to spell the words aloud backwards. Try to alphabetize the words backwards. Try to stand upside down and say your words. Walk backwards, crawl backwards, etc. A(extension: have a backwards day. Wear backwards clothes, follow a backward schedule, eat dinner for breakfast, write from the bottom of the paper upwards)

61. Put all the words in a hat. Draw the words one at a time and spell the word or say the definition. A, K

62. Type the words on a computer. Use different colored fonts. Enlarge the words. Send your list to a relative. V

63. Make a videotape of yourself saying/spelling the words and watch it. A, K

64. Say the words in a whisper, then a low voice, then an average voice, and then as loud as you can. A
Move low to the ground and than higher to match the level of your voice.

65. Turn a full circle for every letter in the spelling word. Say the letter, turn, stop, say the letter, turn, stop, and repeat. K

66. Look for your vocabulary words and spelling words in the book you are reading and write down what page you found the word on. Find words for for the next lesson in your book. V

67. Make a word search or crossword puzzle with the words. V

68. Place the words on the floor. Toss a bean bag or balled up sock at the words. Spell or give a definition for the word the bag lands on. A, K

69. Alphabetize the words on your fridge with fridge magnets. K

70. Crumple up paper with a word on each piece of paper. Have a snowball fight with all of the paper with one person on one side of the room and a partner on the other. Throw the paper at each other. When the time is up collect and open the paper. Read the words together. A, K

More:71. Use a non-dominant hand to write the words. Try your toes. Close your eyes. Close one eye. Wear a ski glove. Use a miniature golf pencil. A, K

72. Write the words in one long row across a large piece of paper or outdoors in chalk. Estimate the letters, then count the letters. V, K

73. Write the words with paint in the bathtub or shaving cream in the shower. K

11 thoughts on “Learning Styles & Spelling Ideas

  1. Thank you this is very helpful,
    I haven’t managed to read all of it but I know where it is and I can come back and read more.
    Love and hugs. Lisa. xx 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for this list! I have an aspie girl and a neurotypical son who both are very intelligent but have an extremely hard time with spelling. This post was very informative and you ideas are great. I will definately try some of of your suggestions!

  3. thank you ~ found your blog on a google search for adult women with asperger’s. am wondering however, how i can post a comment or question to you without it being public. brain injury doesn’t make me the brightest bulb in the room anymore as you can see by my wordpress blog.

    1. HI Carol ~ Might I suggest friending me on facebook. The link is atop this blog. You can private message me there. Here your comments will show up, unless I delete them after I see them. 🙂 Sam

  4. Wonderful blog- I have observed my grandson in his ways of learning. Making notes along the way. I find myself already using some to these ideas to better understand my grandsons perspective on learning. There has been some trial and error at times too. Very early on he learned social skills from the dogs of the family. My son would get frustrated and could not understand Abels obsession with being part of the dog pack at feeding time. I used to think it was cute, funny, ect. Then I took a time out and started observing the activity.We would reprimand to no avail. My grandmother had a fast rule. “Will it really matter in five years?” So I would run anyone off that wanted to interfere…what could it hurt leave him alone. Continuing to make mental notes. Enter the age of daycare. The provider was concerned with biting and slapping. I heard her comments but did not fully appreciate what she was saying….Then I experienced it. Out of the blue when he would get excited he would turn and bite the nearest person. No malice behind it. If he did not like something you or a child did he would hall off and slap you. This is at age three. Remember that harmless interaction with the dogs? Well, we have a puppy(Mastiff) I was watching the two play, as they rolled around on the floor he giggles in glee. After a few minutes Grrrr our puppy would be done. As Abel had him pinned on the floor, Grrr reached around and nips Abel. Which in turn Abel gets on him and bites Grrrs ear. “Lightbulb” goes off..I watch a little more and the pawing and biting goes on. I make a decision right then and there, He has learned the social skills of the dogs AND cats. I love my animals very much….imagine here my daughter rolling her eyes at that statement. lol I saw that we had to do something with the bigger dogs. He was relating with the wrong species. Don’t get me wrong….the dogs have a very nice yard and huge dog house that will house five or six Large dogs. It was time to use this yard permanently. I wanted my grandsons transition to be smooth entering the human world. He is allowed to interact with them for about an hour a day. I let my daycare provider know the plan. We all work as a team. She works on his interacting skills during the day and we when he is home
    It has been six weeks now and the biting has stopped. He has learned to tattle! Whoo hooo! Ok it is not the best progress but it is wonderful blessed progress. He is acting like a boy not a dog. The slapping has been curtailed. We are so blessed that he is in a daycare where the provider was a Headstart teacher. She has a very structured environment. The children there know Abel handles situations differently and they all have had the patience of lil saints. I truly do not believe we would be anywhere near the place we are today with him without his “little community”.
    He is a visual and active learner. And by acknowledging this he has become more accomplished each and every day. He has problems matching the facial expressions to his feelings. It can be quite humorous to try on different expressions as he tries to get the right one. But the one expression that he never has a problem with is when he sees me he automatically smiles! It melts my heart that he can do that without thinking about it. I grew up in a Apergers family and raised by an antisocial and extremely quirky father. So it is important to me that Abel be given every opportunity to strive in this world. My oldest daughter is also an Aspie. My goal was to raise my children to responsible young adults and I have managed to do that with them. Now that I have a clearer understanding of WHY we think the way we do and how our brains work I am determined to make sure my grandson has every opportunity to smoothly learn how he works and adapts to his world around him.
    I am in awe of him on a daily basis. Thank you so much for your blog. It is an outlet where there is an abundance of understanding and women who relate. We are WOMEN hear us roar! MEOW!!!!

    p.s. in another blog I joked about my driving….I have gotten better once I was able to find my spacial boundaries on the freeway and stick to midsize cars….and I drive a forklift at work. The possibilities are endless if you refuse to let Aspergers own you….YOU have to own it!


    1. Thank you Rebecca for sharing all of your experience and your story. It was very interesting to read. I am so happy you have a supportive community and know how to assist your grandson. Thank you for your kind words, too. It is wonderful how many women have like experiences and can join together and support one another. 🙂 I wish you and your family the very best. I’d say stay strong….but I think you’ve got that covered. 🙂 Sam

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