1. Why do so many students struggle with reading?
More than 35 years of international, brain-based, learning styles research shows that:
- Because children learn differently one reading approach is not appropriate for all children.
- Most early reading schemes require an analytic (left-brain) sequential style as well as auditory and visual- word skills.
- Many young readers have different strengths. They are global (right-brain) learners and/or learners with tactile/kinesthetic strengths.
- Such children are often taught to read through their weakest modalities i.e.auditory or visual-word and the result is continued failure and/or disinterest in reading..
- Learning styles research has found that these readers can read well with reading methods and materials that compliment their global and/or tactile/kinesthetic strengths and so have we!
2. Will every child learn to read better through learning styles?
- Matching learning styles and teaching methods will help most students to become better readers.
- There are some children who, in addition to their mismatched learning styles have other problems which cannot be addressed only by learning styles eg. emotional or physical problems, slight malfunctions of the brain or severe social or psychological problems. These children also need help from other specialists.
- Even here a knowledge of style differences can make a huge difference for the specialists, teachers, parents and students concerned.
- It is best not to label children until we are absolutely sure that it is a learning disability and not learning style differences that is causing them to struggle.
- We need to first take the time to find out how much is due to a mismatch of learning styles and learning methods.
- If after exploring the alternatives we find that it is some kind of disorder, knowing their learning styles and learning accordingly, will still help them to read better.