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Dear Learning-SuccessTM Coaches

by Victoria Kindle-Hodson & Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis

[Ed. note: We are very pleased to introduce our new column by Victoria Hodson and Mariaemma Willis. Many of you have met Victoria and Mariaemma at The Link Conferences or at other workshops and seminars. Many of you have used their book, "Discover Your Child's Learning Style" or their online "A Self-Portrait(tm) Learning Style Profile" to help you set up more effective programs to teach your children at home, or your students in the classroom. Beginning in this issue, Victoria and Mariaemma will answer your specific questions regarding learning styles, learning difficulties, appropriate curriculum, and how to be a Learning-Success(tm) Coach for your child.]

In this first column we are featuring questions that parents have asked in the past. Please send your questions to Victoria Hodson at P.O. Box 24346, Ventura, CA 93002 or email to v@coachingforlearningsuccess.com - we hope you find our new column enjoyable and useful!

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Dear Learning-SuccessTM Coaches:

Q:  My son has difficulty verbalizing his thoughts. He doesn't do well when he has to do verbal or written reports. He is in 10th grade.

A:  Your son might be a Visual Picture learner. Sometimes a visual talent or modality preference can interfere with language processing, but it can also be used to enhance language processing. If your son likes to draw, ask him to sketch the main points of the topic he is reporting on (if he doesn't draw, he can use magazine pictures). For example, if the report is on Egypt, he might want to tell something about the geography, the economics, and the religious beliefs. On a separate sheet of paper for each category, he can draw or glue pictures depicting the information. Then, as he looks at the pictures he can verbalize the information. He will probably find it easier to talk about the topic now that it is in an organized format, plus the pictures will help him translate from visual mode to language mode. For a written report, use this same strategy. As an added step, some students tape record themselves talking, then play the recording back to help them put it down in writing.

Q:  My son has trouble understanding written directions - he is always asking me what he is supposed to do on his worksheets. How can I help him?

A:  Try having your son read the directions out loud. Some people are Auditory Verbal learners - that means they need to hear themselves say the words in order to comprehend. Verbalizing is discouraged in a classroom, but you can encourage it at home. As your son gains confidence, you can suggest that he verbalize in a quieter voice, until he is actually barely whispering, and wouldn't be distracting in a group situation. However, allow him to verbalize audibly at home as long as he needs to.

Q:  My 2nd grade daughter has a lot of trouble reading out loud. She stumbles over words, hesitates, and reads very choppy.

A:  Try something called duet reading. Select something to read that is on your daughter's reading level. Then both of you read at the same time. If she gets stuck or stops reading, just continue on. Do not correct her or ask her to sound out words. Just keep reading at a normal pace (not too fast!) and encourage her to read what she can. Do this about five minutes a day, unless your child asks for more (some children love duet reading!). This technique increases sight word recognition and the ability to read smoothly with appropriate expression. However, be patient - it doesn't happen overnight!

Q:  My daughter is in 8th grade. She is supposed to memorize the Declaration of Independence. She's tried for weeks and still can't do it.

A:  Have your daughter set the Declaration of Independence to music. "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" works really well. It would go like this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, That all men are created equal
That they are endowed by their creator, With certain inalienable rights . . . and so on!

Setting material to song is a great strategy for memorizing quickly and easily. That's why we all still remember the ABC song! If your daughter has a visual talent or likes to draw, she might also draw a series of pictures for each "verse." Then she can refer to the pictures as she sings until the whole thing is completely memorized.

Copyright 2001 by Victoria Kindle-Hodson & Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis
www.coachingforlearningsuccess.com
Victoria and Mariaemma each have more than 20 years' experience as teachers, trainers, and consultants. Victoria holds a Master's Degree in Psychology and homeschooled her now-grown son. Mariaemma holds a Master's Degree in Special Education. They also work with families - homeschooled or not -- at their office in Southern California, assessing learning styles and providing guidance to parents and children about learning styles matters. Together they have developed materials and programs that help ensure successful learning experiences for every child. Their innovative way of viewing all children as gifted and their methods for building on kids' strengths and interests, and tracking successes rather than failures, has earned them the title, "America's Learning-Success(tm) Coaches." Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis, M.S., Learning-Success(tm) Coach co-author, Discover Your Child's Learning Style 1451 E. Main St. #200, Ventura, CA 93001; 805-648-1739, mepw1@aol.com www.coachingforlearningsuccess.com

"Promoting learning experiences that allow success for everyone!"

Copyright © 2006 Modern Media