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Learning Style and Reading Achievement


Learning styles are ways of learning which involve methods of educating that are specific to individuals thought to allow individuals to learn best. Through research, it has been identified that some people are favored by some methods of learning while others tend to favor some interactive modes of learning (Roger, 1984, 4). There are several categories of learning styles.

Literature review

The three major and basic types are visual, kinesthetic, and auditory (Dunn, Dunn & Price, 1978, 22). The visual learning styles purely involve people who learn most and get the most out of a lesson through what they see. The learners should learn to interpret the teacher’s body language necessary to enhance their learning. The learners who are highly dependent on this style tend to love occupying the front seats in class and avoid visual obstructions (Karl, 1984, 1). They completely learn best when aided with visual displays and mostly prefer detailed notes in a class setup.

The other category relates to the opinions of other people during discussions and lectures. This will help the learners to internalize the ideas with ease (Prashnig, 1993, 27). These learners argue that written information has little meaning which comes out clearly when heard. Their best way of learning is reading around or listening to tapes (Carbo, 1983, 34).

The other category can be termed as the hands-on approach; they are more interactive in their learning, they aggressively explore the world around them. These learners are activity driven and they have no interest in staying for a long time and concentrating in class. (Fischer, 1979, 254). The learning environment has also a great impact on reading achievement: different students thrive well in different learning environments. According to Slavin (1983, 12), some do well in noisy areas and others do smartly in quiet areas. In learning styles consideration of this and implementing interactive styles helps the students adapt to all environments and improve their abilities and achievements

According to Spires (1983, Para 1), found out that proper implementation of learning styles led to standardized achievements in reading and mathematics. A program that was administered to students of grade 3 through 6 revealed that the use of individual learning styles resulted to significantly high achievement. This yielded to high achievement in the tests that needs high cognitive abilities like the reading concepts.

Marino (1993, 34) found that the assignments and homework given to students and required the application of the learning styles was carefully and fully done. In addition it was perfectly performed with high achievements for all the students. He identified high effort put by the male students of Brooklyn school to apply and adapt the instructions and the results of assignments acquired through Learning Styles Inventory.

Though the learning styles have shown splendid outcomes, its implementation should be perpetual and should come from preferences, their preferred time and the environment. Following this preferences Klavas (1994, 150), found out that there was drastic reduction of discipline issues and increased test scores.

An analysis of the outcome of the practicality of the learning skills among the special education and the generally low achieving students revealed a great change of attitude to instruction and improved education prosperity (Goldfinch & Hughes, 2007, 259). Matching of the learning styles and with the most appropriate instruction strategies yielded highest. This contributed to adaptability of the students positively to reading and even after the learning styles were eliminated the students had developed good reading strategies (Whitmore, 1986, 69). The learning styles therefore help the students change and improve their attitude towards reading and academics in general.

The usage of the tactual and global methodology during reading instruction has been found out to give the best results of approximately 74 percent out come. This has been specifically on the issues of self concept. In reading achievement among the same lot of students there was improved gain (Cremin, 1964, 78).

The learning has models in addition to the types; the Dunn and price learning model is a unique model that has been developed to guidelines for students who have not been accommodated by the conventional classrooms (Klavas, 1994, 9). There students who many a times have been classified as non achievers, have problem with discipline and known to have learning disabilities have been highly helped by this model of learning styles.

According to a research done by Karl Nice, the application of the learning styles to the largest minorities, the Alaska natives, led to change of attitude and improvement in the achievements (Dunn & Dunn, 1992, 18). The Alaska natives have had high problems and issues with school dropouts and learning skills generally. The study which was carried out to determine the difference between the performances of the natives verses the white classmates ascertained that there is a great relationship between the reading achievements and learning skills.

According to Carbo (1984, 73). The administration of the learning styles inventory brought out that the native students were less persistent and they depended highly on the presence of the teacher. The understanding of this element helped apply the most appropriate causing the students change their attitude and performance (Yardley, 2001, 8). Their environment was also very different for they performed well in the late morning and they absorbed very little at a time. In conclusion it was found out that for the learning styles gave them best results when blended with the best environment and the best motivational aspects for the particular group of students the teacher has.

The learning styles were identified to be specific for different level of education. Price, Dunn (1990, 32), found that the young children enjoyed tactile, the elementary grade children had gradual development of visual abilities and as they develop to their teen they adopt the auditory styles which work so well for them. The different styles for the different age groups and classes enabled them to retain much information after a lesson (Cano, 1999, 35).

Single application of the learning styles yielded good results but a combination was even better results. A combination of the auditory and visual styles for the readers has been concluded to be the most yielding according to Carbo (1983, 488). In addition he concluded that the poor readers needed the tactile styles sandwiched among the rest of the style for better results.

According to a research by Farr (1971, 23), the post secondary students preferred the styles which corresponded to their abilities and strengths. Domino (1979, 7) discovered that the college students need what would help them gain high academic achievements. They enjoyed more the fact knowledge and impacting on attitude than those instructional styles.

Reference List

Cano, J (1999). The relationship between learning style, academic major, and academic performance of college students. Journal of Agriculture Education, 40(3), 30-37.

Carbo, M. (1983). Research in reading and learning style: Implications for exceptional children. Exceptional Children, 49, 486-494.

Carbo, M. (1984). Research in learning style and reading: Implications for instruction. Theory into Practice, 23, 72-76.

Cremin, Lawrence A. (1964). The Transformation of the School, Progressivism in American Education, 1876 – 1957. New York: Random House, Part I. The Progressive Impulse in Education, 1976 – 1917, pp. 3 – 178.

Domino, G. (1979). Interactive effects of achievement orientation and teaching style on academic achievement. ACT Research Report, 39, 1-9.

Dunn, R., Dunn, K., & Price, G.E. (1978). Teaching students through their individual learning styles. Reston, VA: Reston Publishing.

Dunn, R., & A. Klavas. 1990. Homework disc. Jamaica, N.Y.: Center for the Study of Learning and Teaching Styles. Jamaica: St. John’s University.

Dunn, R., & K. Dunn. (1992). Teaching elementary students through their individual learning styles: Practical approaches for grades. Boston: Allyn

Farr, B.J. (1971). Individual differences in learning: Predicting one’s more effective learning modality. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Catholic University.

Fischer, B., & Fischer, L. (1979). Styles in teaching and learning. Educational Leadership, 36, 245-254.

Goldfinch, J. & Hughes, M. (2007). Skills, learning styles and success of first-year undergraduates. Active Learning in Higher Education, 8, 259-273.

Karl, N. J. (1984) Learning style preference and reading achievement of urban Alaskan native students. Covell Hall: Oregon State University. Web.

Klavas, A. (1994). In Greensboro, North Carolina: Learning style program boosts achievement and test scores. The Clearing House, 67, 149-151

Marino, J. l993. Homework: A fresh approach to a perennial problem. Momentum, 24 (1): 69–71.

Prashnig, B. (1993). Learning Styles Research 504 Floral Vale Blvd. White plains, NY: Longman

Roger C, D. (1984). Learning style preference and reading achievement of urban Alaskan native. Covell Hall: Oregon State University.

Slavin, R.E. (1983). Cooperative learning. White plains, NY: Longman

Spires, H.A (1983). Learning Styles: Achievement Gains through Learning Styles Matching. Washington, DC: Price systems. Web.

Yardley, J. (2001). Learning Style Differences of Non conforming Middle-School Students. NASSP Bulletin n Vol. 85 No. 626.2001.

Whitmore, J.R. (1986). Understanding a lack of motivation to excel. Gifted Child Quarterly, 30, 66-69.


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