Multiple Ways to Make Reading Come Alive

Posted by Big Universe on Mar 7, 2013 2:00:09 PM


Teaching literature can be so much than at-home reading assignments, pop quizzes testing reading comprehension and follow up discussion. In “Help for Struggling Readers: Making Reading Exciting” by Imagine Learning, Inc suggests some hands-on ways to make reading exciting – from using interactive media to eating the foods that are described in stories and acting out or drawing scenes. This reminds me of Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, where there are seven distinct multiple intelligences (MI). Different from a student's IQ score, a student's MI is closer to an innate talent, and tapping into it allows students to learn by doing, as the generally accepted breakdown of learning is, students learn:

10% of what they read
20% of what they hear
30% of what they see
50% of what they hear and see
70 % of what they say as they talk
80-90% of what they hear, see and do

Although there is criticism of the MI theory (lack of data), there is no arguing that creating lessons that involve the modalities creates a dynamic, hands-on approach to learning – tailored to students’ diverse learning styles. In “The Distance Learning Technology Resource Guide,” by Carla Lane suggests that using media and multimedia in the classroom lends itself to Gardner’s MI.

Below is excerpted the hands-on ways that teachers can address different learning styles, according to Garner’s MI

  1. Logical-mathematical
    critical thinking
    These students think conceptually, abstractly and are able to see and explore patterns and relationships.
    Ex: experiment, solve puzzles, ask cosmic questions
    Tools: logic games, investigations, mysteries
  2. Spatial
    These students draw, do jigsaw puzzles, read maps, daydream.
    Ex: drawings, verbal and physical imagery
    Tools: models, graphics, charts, photographs, drawings, 3-D modeling, video, videoconferencing, television, multimedia, texts with pictures/charts/graphs
  3. Linguistic
    reading, writing, telling
    These students like reading, playing word games, making up poetry or stories.
    Ex: encourage them to say and see words, read books together
    Tools: computers, games, multimedia, books, tape recorders, and lecture
  4. Bodily-kinesthetic
    muscular movement: acting to dancing to building
    They like movement, making things, touching.
    Ex: physical activity, hands-on learning, acting out, role playing
    Tools: equipment and real objects.
  5. Musical
    They may study better with music in the background.
    Ex: turn lessons into lyrics, speaking rhythmically, tapping out time
    Tools: musical instruments, music, radio, stereo, CD-ROM, multimedia
  6. Interpersonal
    discussions to debate
    These students learn through interaction and have many friends, empathy for others, street smarts.
    Ex: They can be taught through group activities, seminars, dialogues.
    Tools: the telephone, audio conferencing, time and attention from the instructor, video conferencing, writing, computer conferencing, E-mail
  7. Intrapersonal
    introspective, emotional
    Ex: They can be taught through independent study and introspection.
    Tools: books, creative materials, diaries, privacy and time.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Writing, Literacy

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