Top 3 Literacy Teaching Tips for Every Learning Style

Lexia's Top 3 Literacy Teaching Tips for Every Learning Style

Students have style, and not just in terms of their snazzy fashion sense. The term learning style refers to the most effective way a student takes in new information and demonstrates their knowledge. Typically, educators refer to four different learning styles: visual, auditory, verbal, and physical.

In a single classroom, an educator may have students who range from very visual to highly verbal learners. Identifying each student’s learning style is essential to planning personalized literacy instruction. Keep reading to find out our top three literacy teaching tips for every learning style.  


Visual learners

For visual learners, a picture is worth a thousand words. These students need to be able to visualize information, which is ideal for learning concrete facts (such as vocabulary definitions) but challenging for abstract concepts (such as grammar rules).  

If your student:

  • Gravitates towards pictures and artwork

  • Uses drawings as self-expression

  • Refers to maps and pictures to problem-solve


  • Creating slideshows and videos to teach important concepts

  • Pairing new vocabulary words with pictures and drawings

  • Making colorful or illustrated charts to organize new information


Auditory learners

Auditory learners, also called "aural learners" or "musical learners," absorb information best simply by listening. That said, reaching these students should not mean limiting yourself to lectures. There are many ways to turn listening activities like read-alouds into engaging exercises that help auditory learners succeed.  

If your student:

  • Prefers to listen to instructions and lectures without taking notes

  • Is able to recall spoken directions better than written instructions

  • Easily remembers rhymes, songs, and melodies


  • Reading books and stories aloud to the class

  • Creating songs or rhymes based on grammar rules

  • Allowing students to listen to books on tape

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Verbal learners

Also called "linguistic learners," verbal learners naturally work well with the written and spoken word. As with auditory learners, however, you should not limit yourself to giving lectures and disseminating textbooks to connect with this type of learner.

If your student:

  • Prefers reading written instructions over following maps

  • Enjoys reading and writing activities

  • Is talented at creating rhymes, stories, and lyrics


  • Providing opportunities to practice new words through both speaking and writing

  • Allowing them to read information themselves, either silently or aloud

  • Asking them to write stories, poems, and essays that incorporate information from the lesson


Physical learners

Physical learners, also known as "kinesthetic learners," need to stay active. These students process information most efficiently when touching, feeling, and moving. Creating opportunities for physical learners during literacy lessons is often a matter of incorporating movement into their work.  

If your student:

  • Excels in sports, dance, and other activities

  • Looks for opportunities to get up and move

  • Spends recess and free time playing active games and walking around the room


  • Encouraging them to clap out syllables or stomp out the rhythm of a poem

  • Allowing them to get up and act out scenes from a story

  • Pairing abstract concepts with physical objects that can be held and manipulated (for example, physical learners could practice spelling out words with magnetic letters or blocks)


No matter what learning styles your students represent, incorporating a variety of teaching techniques can help meet every type of learner's needs. Keep this list of tips handy when you need to personalize instruction. Sometimes, creating engaging, individualized lesson plans is all a matter of style.

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Featured White Paper:

The Critical Role of Oral Language in Reading Instruction and Assessment

Oral language has a profound impact on children’s preparedness for kindergarten and on their success throughout their academic career. Read the white paper by Dr. Liz Brooke, Lexia's Chief Education Officer, to learn about the critical role of oral language in reading instruction and assessment, including the implications for teachers with Title I and English Learner students.

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