Helping your child learn


THUMB_single_bookmark    Use the bookmark to talk to your child about how to learn something. Explain that looking at something you are trying to learn is focusing on it. Looking at something else, or thinking about something else does not help you learn quickly.

     I look Show your child a picture of an apple or something simple. You can even show him/her a real apple. Say: “Let’s look closely at this apple. Take a good look. Now close your eyes and try to see the apple in your head. Can you see it? Can you tell what color it is? What size is it? With your eyes closed tell me some words about your apple. (Listen and see if the words describe the apple or not.) O.K. now open your eyes. Did you see the apple just like it is? What words describe the apple?” (Repeat some of the words the child used to ask: Is it …….?, etc.)

    Next, talk about I listen. Explain that a person has two eyes to see very well and also two ears to hear very well. Have the child look at the apple again. This time have the child listen. Say, “I am going to say a sentence about the apple and I want you to remember what I said. ‘The (color) apple is delicious!’  Can you repeat what I said?” (Have the child repeat the sentence.)

     I think  “Now let’s think about the apple. When we think, we put our thoughts together about what we were looking at and hearing. Let’s see. We looked and saw an apple. We listened and heard, ‘The (color) apple is delicious.’ Now what can we think about the apple? (Listen to child’s comments.)

     Let’s taste the apple. (You may wish to cut the apple horizontally and  show the star formed by the seeds. Compare with how it looks when cut vertically.) As the child eats the apple, talk about the taste, the crunchy sound, the juicy taste, etc. Ask “Now what can you say about the apple?” “How would you describe it to someone who is not here?” 

    This simple exercise will start the child learning how to pay attention/ focus on a certain concept. Learning is easier when there are pictures or objects to handle.  In asking the child to close his/her eyes and visualize the apple in his/her mind, we are helping develop visual memory.  Visual memory is needed for learning to read, spell, write and recall.

    Auditory memory is needed as well. By having the child listen to a sentence about the apple, we are helping to focus his/her attention on what is heard. Sometimes it helps to have the child close his/her eyes while listening IF he/she is easily distracted by the surroundings. However, this cannot always be the case, since the skill will be needed when listening to instructions that are being shown, etc.

    When the child handles the apple, he is developing tactile memory. Talk about how the apple feels. Relate the feeling to other objects, fruits, – possibly an orange.

    Thinking is concentrating on a specific thing, process, etc. after or while it is being viewed or explained.   Without thinking the results may be just some rote response that hasn’t really clicked into a knowledge base.