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6 Auditory Learning Tricks That Actually Work

Experts share auditory learning tricks designed to help kids retain what they learn and improve their studying.

6 Auditory Learning Tricks That Actually Work

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Are you amazed at how easily your child can memorize song lyrics after just a few listens? If so, they might be an auditory learner. Unlike some kids who may prefer reading (visual) or hands-on (kinetic) learning, auditory learners (which make up about thirty percent of all students) excel when information is presented to them audibly. Kids in this category tend to thrive on podcasts, remember every line of a story, and always enjoy settling down with a good audiobook.

However, with all the textbooks, diagrams, and long PowerPoint presentations in today's classrooms, staying engaged can be challenging for those who learn best through listening. So, to help your little auditory learner succeed, we have six auditory learning tricks designed to help them retain what they learn and improve their studying.

What is auditory learning?

Unlike kinetic and visual styles, Cindy Chanin, founder and director at Rainbow EDU Consulting & Tutoring, explains that auditory learning is a learning style in which students most successfully comprehend material through hearing and sound. "These learners respond best to aural information and directions, such as listening to an audiobook or engaging in class discussion," she tells Today's Parent. "They typically enjoy music, are strong conversationalists and storytellers, and express emotion verbally, among other traits."

While auditory learners often struggle to retain information through reading alone, Karla Lomelí, assistant professor of teacher education at Santa Clara University, emphasizes that students should still strive to use a combination of learning styles. "These methods include visual and kinesthetic approaches, to different extents," she explains to Today's Parent. "Equally important is incorporating the learner's cultural and linguistic background."

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How can auditory learning be improved?

Auditory learning can be improved in several ways. To start, Chanin suggests that parents find audiobook versions of textbooks to help students learn better. She also recommends setting up a quiet study area at home so that students who are auditory learners can read assignments aloud to themselves. According to Chanin, "having these dedicated spaces will be a boon for these students," as many auditory learners can become distracted by excessive noise.

In the classroom, teachers can also support auditory learners. "Teachers can create oral exams and presentations specifically tailored for auditory learners," says Chanin. "Students who have trouble remembering written material may do much better on exams if they can access an audio version."

What are the four auditory skills?

Lomelí explains that there are four auditory skills. These include listening, decoding, memory, and sequencing, which all help people (including children) understand and process sounds, speech, and language.

Listening

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One of the four most crucial auditory skills, according to Lomelí, is listening. She tells Today's Parent, "Listening involves paying attention and understanding spoken language and other sounds. By listening well, auditory learners can absorb and remember information better, leading to improved comprehension and understanding."

Deciphering

Following listening, a person engages in deciphering, which requires the capacity to comprehend various words or sounds. As Lomelí explains to Today's Parent, "This skill involves the ability to discriminate between various tones, high and low pitches, and the individual sounds that form words.". Interpretation is important because it supports auditory learners' academic success, information retention, and reading comprehension."

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Memory

"Memory enables us to store and retrieve information we hear, like remembering spoken directions or discussions," Lomelí says. "Memory is vital for those who learn by listening because it helps them remember and recall what they hear, which is essential for learning and retaining new information."

Sequencing

Sequencing, according to Lomelí, is the ability to recall the sounds that are heard in a particular order, such as the notes in a song or the letters in words. "This skill aids auditory learners in better information retention and recall, which can enhance spoken language comprehension and retention," she continues."

Five auditory learning tricks that actually work

Podcasts and Audio Books

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Like you enjoy having a collection of your favorite podcasts and audiobooks, consider introducing your children to them. Dr. Lisa Downey, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Educator Preparation at NLU, Assistant Professor at NCE, Coordinator of the Early Childhood Practice Program at NCE, and newly appointed director of the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, suggests that these audio resources are filled with exciting new ideas and knowledge that can considerably benefit young auditory learners.

However, Dr. Downey suggests auditory learners take notes while listening to podcasts to enhance their podcast listening experience. She emphasizes, "Encouraging students to absorb information at their speed, this active engagement technique — requiring rewinding, pausing, and replaying the content—enhances the learning process."

Recording and Replaying

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If your young auditory learner thrives on listening, writing out and replaying their study notes could be a fantastic auditory learning trick to enhance their learning abilities. "If your child has an upcoming test or presentation, you should encourage them to try out this auditory learning trick, which involves playing back study notes on a device to help with memorization," Dr. Downey says. "This strategy uses hearing reinforcement and repeating the material to help you retain it."

Teaching Others

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Speaking and listening are strong suits for auditory learners, and by explaining concepts aloud to someone else, even if it's just to an imaginary listener, Dr. Downey says they can improve their clarity and organization in thought, solidify their comprehension, and have a more engaged learning experience.

Rhymes and Mnemonics

A group of mothers and their children are playing together in a class. They are singing songs and clapping their hands. FatCamera/ Getty Images

If your child can memorize song lyrics quickly, Dr. Downey advises encouraging them to create rhymes, songs, or mnemonic devices to help them remember important information. "This technique takes advantage of the brain's natural inclination towards patterns and repetition," she says.

Discussion Groups or Study Partners

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Since auditory learners absorb information best through listening, Dr. Downey says engaging in discussion groups or partnering with a study buddy is one of the best auditory learning strategies. "The act of verbalizing concepts to others and absorbing their insights enriches understanding via a dynamic exchange of thoughts," she shares with Today's Parent. "Using this approach not only promotes learning in a social setting but also introduces a variety of viewpoints."

Read Aloud

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According to Chanin, Reading aloud is an effective and easy auditory learning trick. She explains, "Having parents read aloud to auditory learners can be incredibly helpful. And, if an auditory learner doesn't have anyone available to help them with their work, reading aloud to themselves can do the trick as well."

Experts

  • Dr. Lisa Downey, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Educator Preparation at NLU, Assistant Professor at NCE, Coordinator of the Early Childhood Practice Program at NCE, and newly appointed Director of the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership
  • Karla Lomelí, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at Santa Clara University
  • Cindy Chanin, Founder & Director at Rainbow EDU Consulting & Tutoring

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