Let’s talk about multisensory learning. As dyslexia coaches using an Orton-Gillingham program, multisensory learning is our jam. But what does multisensory mean, why is it important, and how can you incorporate this at home? Well, we’re so glad you asked!
The Texas Dyslexia Handbook describes multisensory learning as “Teaching [that] is done using all learning pathways in the brain (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile) simultaneously in order to enhance memory and learning.” (Texas Dyslexia Handbook, 2018, pg. 41) In short, multisensory learning is using all of the senses to teach a concept. Think seeing, hearing, feeling/touching and movement. By incorporating all of our senses, we are activating various parts of the brain to commit the concept to memory.
The good news is you don’t need to have an education background to teach your children in a multisensory way. You need only a little bit of creativity and a few household items. Pinterest is filled with thousands of resources, ideas and activities so you don’t even need to come up with them on your own.
Currently, I am working with my newly three-year-old to begin introducing letters and the sounds they make. Today we worked on the letter A. Below is an outline of the activities and resources I used. These activities are great for children ages 3 to 6.
- Watch “The Letter A Song” by ABC Mouse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beT_KcblaBI
- Using painters tape, have your child tear off pieces and assist with making a large letter A on the ground or on a wall.
- Using dot stickers (or any type of stickers), have your child put the dots on the A.
- Have a scavenger hunt around the house and have your child find items that begin with a letter A.
- Using chalk, draw a giant A. Have your child walk the A. Repeat with jumping, skipping, crab walking, etc.
- Using sand, flour, sugar or similar medium, have your child trace the letter A just like they would write it. Here is a free printable of letter formation cards to use as an aid. https://www.funwithmama.com/alphabet-letter-formation-cards/
- Practice making the /ah/ sound while looking into a mirror. Have your child pay attention to their mouth. Ask them where there tongue is when they say /ah/. Is their mouth open or closed?
The beauty of multisensory learning is that it is highly versatile. The above tasks suited the needs of my 3 year old, but multisensory learning can be adapted to suit any learner at any age. Have a middle schooler or high schooler? Mind maps, podcasts, audiobooks, youtube videos and highlighting notes are just a few ideas for older students.
Check out our graphic below for more ideas. We'd love to hear how you are incorporating multisensory learning at home.