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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Multi-sensory on the Slope

Rosemarie Hester

We have heard a great deal about multiple intelligences and learning styles in recent years. We know that it’s important for teachers and parents to understand a child’s strengths and weaknesses and to teach young people using a variety of approaches.

A great way to reach a wide range of student styles is through multi-sensory activities. “Multi-sensory” refers to helping a child learn by speaking, seeing, drawing, moving, writing, making choices, playing games, being creative and interacting with people and materials. Most skills can be practiced in multi-sensory fashion.

Here is an example using a first grade lesson: When a child learns about “magic e” words, a parent can turn the word pairs into a Go-Fish game using index cards. Slat and slate. Cut and Cute. Sam and same. Tim and time.

When playing, the child says, “I have fat. Do you have fate?”

For an older child, here’s an example of how to help with decoding poly-syllabic words: a word on an index card and cut irregular lines through the words at the syllable breaks. Then present one syllable at a time, one word at a time.

Mon o chrom at ic

Com mun i ca tion

Pan dem on i um

After sounding out each syllable, the child can fit the pieces together and try to repeat the entire word. Working on poly-syllabic words is useful because many students read passed words they do not know how to attack.

On the first Monday of each month, I will be offering ideas about multi-sensory activities at Community Bookstore on 7th Avenue. Please bring questions about your child’s learning! We will begin at 7:00pm and follow a question-and-answer discussion format. I hope to see you there!

Rosemarie has been a classroom teacher and head of school as well as a playwright and director for youth theatre. She has worked with kindergarteners through high schoolers and especially enjoys helping students with reading and writing. Currently, she maintains a private practice as a Learning Specialist for families in Brooklyn and Manhattan. She also blogs regularly about education and learning on Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn. You can find out more about Rosemarie on her website: www.rosemariehester.com You may e-mail her at rosemariehester@mac.com or call 734-709-8802.