Thursday, June 26, 2008

Reading problems: why children struggle

Many factors may make the task of learning to read difficult for children:
· Learning to read a language that’s not phonetic (e.g., English).
· Learning to read in a second language.
· Home culture not seeing books or stories as a priority.
· Child not interested in the books they have access to (most boys prefer non-fiction, while most girls prefer fiction - especially if it involves ponies and fairies).
· Parents unaware of the importance of playing word games with their children.
· Dyslexia.
· Dyspraxia.
· Your child’s learning style not being compatible with the teaching methods at their school.

(To analyse your child’s learning style, please have a look at

When you find out that your child’s reading progress is below expectation, the first step is to find out which area seems to be the challenge:
· Letter recognition.
· Word recognition.
· Reading out loud.
· Reading comprehension.
· Dictation (writing a word you hear).

If your child is highly visual, for example, chances are, their letter recognition may be good. But if they are tactile, they may need to learn the shape of letters by tracing them in the sand.

Children who are auditory may prefer to spell words out loud rather than write them down.

Children who have difficulty following a story line may be dyslexic, but they may also be highly holistic.

Do you know your child’s learning style? If not, here’s how to find out.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Learning Styles and the Art of Listening

· Understanding
· Affirmation
· Validation
· Appreciation
· Job well done
are only some of the benefits of listening effectively.

In addition, listening - when done right - creates an atmosphere of love, trust and respect.

Although the traditional image of a good listener is somebody who looks at you and sits still except for nodding encouragingly, it is not an image of somebody who is necessarily taking in information.

Everybody has their own unique listening style. You yourself may listen best while playing with your pen, or staring at the floor, or bustling around the room, or even lying back in the chair with your eyes closed (try to explain that one to your boss without a printout of your Working Style Analysis report). You may prefer to know the conclusion before you want to hear the details of the process. Even the amount of light in the room may affect the success of your listening endeavours.

(Does your listening style have a preference for fiddling or pacing? Click here to find out.)

When listening, it’s often best to utilise as many senses as possible: use the ears to hear the message, the eyes to read body language, imagination to visualise the message, intuition to determine what the speaker is actually saying and the mouth to repeat it all back to make sure you’ve understood correctly.

Happy listening!

To analyse your communications style, have a look here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Learning Styles in “Fight or Flight” Mode

Fact 1:
Some Learning Style elements are biological, others are shaped throughout our lives.

Fact 2:
Sometimes circumstances force us to bend our natural Learning Style to suit our situation, particularly in an area where we have a natural flexibility or adaptability. (If you haven’t had your Learning Style professionally assessed, you may assume that you are analytic, for example, whereas your real style is more holistic by nature.)

Fact 3:
When we are under severe stress, or exhausted, or unwell, or under the influence of even moderate amounts of alcohol - in other words, when we are in a “fight or flight” situation - our Learning Style tends to revert back to our inherent mode of information-intake.

What can cause such levels of stress?
· Driving in traffic.
· Working night shifts when you are not a night person.
· Changing jobs.
· Moving to another city or country.
· Becoming a parent.
· Having a permanently stressful job (CEO, fire fighter, policeman).

Can you remember the last time you had your learning or working style assessed? Were you in a stressful or a relaxing phase of your life? Was it different to your situation today?

It may be worth your while to do the assessment again.