Auditory learners learn best by hearing information and using self-talk, but how do you know if your child is an auditory learner? As a school counselor, I help students identify which learning style they use. Then I share strategies with students, parents and teachers to maximize the student’s learning.

There are three different ways we learn. We either learn by seeing (visual), hearing (auditory), or doing (kinesthetic). Sometimes students use a combination of two or more of these learning styles.

I use a variety of assessments to determine how students learn, but generally auditory learners have certain characteristics. An auditory learner I’ve been working, I’ll call him Derek, is very social, likes to participate in classroom discussions, has difficulty being quiet, and prefers working in groups.

During my first session with Derek he said, “I can’t do the work because I’m stupid.” I replied, “You’re not stupid, you just need to learn how you learn.” He gave me a puzzled look, so I said, “Some of us learn best by seeing, some by hearing, and some by doing. Let’s see what works best for you.”

Here are some characteristics of auditory learners and what strategies maximize their learning.

Auditory Learners Usually:

  • Enjoy talking.
  • Talk aloud to themselves.
  • Like explaining things to others.
  • Remember names.
  • Recognize variations in a person’s tone of voice.
  • Understand concepts better by talking about them.
  • Are distracted by background noise.
  • Have difficulty following written directions.
  • Read slowly.
  • Have difficulty being quiet for extended periods of time.
  • Like being read to.
  • Memorize things by repeating them aloud.
  • Enjoy music.
  • Whisper the words on the page as they read.
  • Hum or sing often.
  • Like being around other people.
  • Enjoy the performing arts.

Here's a List of Strategies to Help Auditory Learners Succeed in School:

Teach reading by having your child:

  • Use the phonetic approach.
  • Use rhyming word games.
  • Read aloud, even when reading independently.

Use auditory materials to teach lessons, including:

  • Video tapes
  • Audio tapes
  • Books on tape
  • Melodies, rhythms and beats to reinforce information

Have your child:

  • Answer questions orally.
  • Give oral reports.
  • Repeat facts aloud with their eyes closed.
  • Use repetition to memorize.
  • Recite information aloud when they’re studying (i.e., facts, spelling words).
  • Use tape recorders to record and play back lessons.
  • Participate in small and large group discussions before working independently.
  • Study in groups.

Parents should also try to give directions verbally, paraphrase key information, provide students a quiet place to do homework, and play music softly in the background, if they prefer.

So, break out the tape recorder, the books on tape and those rhyming skills, and maximize your child's learning style while boosting his confidence.