What about auditory learners? So far, we’ve covered most of the learning styles, activities for those learning styles, and why it’s important to use multisensory learning for all learners. Next, let’s take a closer look at auditory learners and see what strategies and activities help them learn. As you might guess, auditory learners tend to prefer learning through sound—they like spoken information and musical or other sound associations.
What is an auditory learner?
Auditory learners—or aural learners—often learn best through activities and learning strategies that heavily rely on sound. They may have strong auditory memory, meaning they can more easily recall and retain spoken instructions. They tend to remember the way things sound and can even have precise auditory memory. Auditory learners may also prefer learning with music or mnemonic devices. Music might become a learning tool for them because an auditory learner may even recall information they’ve learned while listening to a specific song. Because their preferences cause them to use their listening skills more frequently, they may become very successful listeners.
Aren’t auditory learners and verbal linguistic learners the same?
Auditory learners share similar characteristics with verbal linguistic learners, but there are differences. Auditory learners need to hear information or sounds to learn best. Verbal learners learn best from spoken or written words, but they must use words. Auditory learners prefer using sound associations as well as spoken information for learning. However, because they overlap with spoken information, both auditory and verbal learners may benefit in the same ways from the same learning strategies and study methods.
Is my child an auditory learner?
Learning preferences change, and kids can have multiple learning preferences. To get a better idea of what your children’s learning preferences are, take our learning styles quiz to learn more, or check out all 7 learning styles. As you watch how your children learn, be very observant. Consider the kinds of teaching methods or activities they have responded well to. Auditory learners will likely show strong listening skills. They may repeat what they’ve been told aloud so they can hear it in another way. They may even demonstrate some musical talent. Auditory learners likely have precise auditory memories, so they can easily remember how things sounded, which can translate into playing music by ear. Having an auditory learning preference can also lead to improved understanding or recognition of social cues that use tone shifts or speech patterns.
Auditory Learning Strategies
Begin Lessons with Lectures or Discussions
Auditory learners typically gain the most information from spoken instruction. Beginning lessons with instruction through lecture and discussion sets auditory learners up with their strongest learning opportunity first. Other learning strategies—textbook reading, note taking, learning activities—become review for these students. This order gives them the necessary review for recall. When auditory learners with strong listening skills listen to a lecture and complete homework, they often don’t need much additional study time to prepare for tests or other assessments.
Use Text-to-Speech or Audio Books When Available
If you can’t start a lesson with lecture or discussion, use text-to-speech or audiobooks for reading assignments. Or use them even if you do begin with lecture and discussion. Even though text-to-speech may not be familiar to them, auditory learners can benefit from listening to reading assignments while they read to help them process information.
Talking about what your children are learning with casual conversation is an easy way to add auditory elements to lessons. Questions as simple as “What did you learn today?” or “What do you think about…?” can start a conversation about learning. Auditory learners may not need to be participants in these conversations—a social learner would—but having them talk about what they’ve learned is a unique listening experience because they will be hearing themselves talk about the lessons as well as hearing others.
In addition to your regular lesson content, whether you’re using video lessons or teaching yourself, you can add educational videos to help reinforce learning for your students. Some video curriculum, like BJU Press videos, already have video segments that add to the lesson and make learning more fun. For these courses, you may not need or want to add more video content for your children. For parent-led or largely self-taught students, supplemental videos make a great resource for auditory learners.
Read Assignment Instructions Aloud
This strategy can be especially helpful for auditory learners who have little or no preference for read/write learning. Reading assignment instructions out loud—and having students read them out loud—helps auditory learners know and understand expectations for assignments up front.
Auditory Learning Activities
- Group read alouds. Oral reading is a valuable skill, and auditory learners may prefer reading aloud over silent reading and quickly gain confidence in oral reading. However, remember to avoid pressuring children who aren’t confident yet to read out loud. Young readers may be self-conscious about pronunciation and pacing, and may be prone to comparing themselves to older, more confident readers.
- Role play.
- Oral assessments. If a student shows a strong preference for auditory learning over read/write learning, administering tests or quizzes orally may remove some barriers for the child in demonstrating his or her abilities.
- Practice thinking aloud. When you, as a teacher, think aloud and talk through how you solve problems, find information, or come to a conclusion, this is called teacher modeling. Teacher modeling is an important activity for all learners because it teaches them the processes adults use to complete tasks. Some of these processes aren’t as intuitive as we think they might be.
Study Tips for Auditory Learners
- Study in groups. Homeschool students rarely get opportunities for group learning, but there’s no reason siblings can’t review lessons together and help each other study, even when they’re in different grades or taking different courses. In college, many roommates help each other study by going over notes together, even if they’re in completely different majors. Being in the same class is helpful for study partners, but it is not required.
- Read notes aloud. If group study simply isn’t an option or you need additional study time, read aloud through your notes to help yourself study.
- Play music. Background music—any kind of music that you enjoy that fades into the background for you—can help make personal study and reading more engaging for an auditory learner. In some cases, you may even be able to develop associations between specific songs and the information that you’re learning. If you can listen to that same music while taking a test or writing a paper, then the music can act as a mnemonic device for you.
- Keep recordings of lessons. If your lessons are pre-recorded video lessons, then replaying sections from lessons can be a valuable study tool for you. If not, try recording your parent, co-op teacher, or online teacher during lessons so you can review the lessons later.
- Create mnemonic devices. Making up phrases or songs that use shared sounds for things you want to remember is a simple, but effective, memory hack.