Verbal/Linguistic Learning Style: Characteristics & Strategies

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  • 0:04 A Way with Words
  • 0:31 Verbal/Linguistic…
  • 1:25 Strategies for Verbal Learners
  • 3:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Christine Serva

Christine has an M.A. in American Studies, the study of American history/society/culture. She is an instructional designer, educator, and writer.

Expert Contributor
Sasha Blakeley

Sasha Blakeley has a Bachelor's in English Literature from McGill University. She has been teaching English in Canada and Taiwan for six years.

In this lesson, consider what qualities you'll find in a verbal/linguistic learner and what strategies can support them. Come away with some concrete examples to try in your own classroom.

A Way with Words

Do you love learning new words? Do you find that discussion and conversation tend to help you grasp information from a class? Are you a natural-born writer or speaker? Does entering a library make you swoon?

If so, you may have an inclination toward a verbal/linguistic style of learning. In this lesson, you'll learn more about what this style entails and how to better support students who learn best through words.

Verbal/Linguistic Learning Style

When one learns best through the written and spoken word, the person can be said to have a verbal/linguistic learning style. Verbal learning style can be closely associated with an auditory learning style, in which a person learns best from what they hear, but verbal learners are specifically interested in the words they hear.

A person who leans toward a verbal/linguistic learning style will tend to pick up new words easily and have a large vocabulary. Words may be pleasurable to this person, including a willingness to read a great deal or simply prefer the written and spoken word to other forms of learning, such as hands-on tasks.

This doesn't mean a person can't or won't learn through other approaches, just that this is a preference of the person. Think about learning style as similar to having a dominant hand. While we are most comfortable and effective using that hand, if we have to switch hands or learning styles, we can.

Strategies for Verbal Learners

When a person with a verbal/linguistic style of learning finds herself in a classroom setting, what's going to help her to really make the most of the information provided? Luckily, most classes involve quite a lot of built-in opportunities for a student who learns best this way. From class discussions to reading material, words are a big part of most school environments.

What more can you do as a teacher to support students who have this preferred style?

First of all, recognize the value of students transforming new information into their own words. For a student who likes to think out loud, allow for debates and conversation that give students permission to try to reword what has been taught. For example, if you were discussing the historical events leading up to World War I, you might ask if any students would like to see if they can summarize the timeline themselves with a few sentences.

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Additional Activities

Lesson Plan Practice

Here are three hypothetical students whose learning styles are primarily verbal or linguistic. Write sample lesson plans for each scenario with the students' age levels and learning styles in mind. Make sure to include games and rewards for completing tasks! Use the examples given in this lesson, and make your plans as detailed as you can.

Student 1

Student 1 is a twelve-year-old girl who has been struggling with fractions. Visual representations confuse her and word problems make sense on a verbal level, but she struggles to translate them into mathematical formulae. She wishes she could just write short stories instead of learning to multiply fractions! How can you create lessons that use words and writing to explain the material?

Student 2

Student 2 is an eight-year-old boy who is learning vocabulary words for his science project. During lessons, he likes to make up elaborate stories around each word, rather than learning by rote. While he enjoys learning new words, he sometimes has trouble retaining them and matching them to their correct meanings. How can you incorporate his interest in stories to retain new information?

Student 3

Student 3 is a fifteen-year-old girl who is working on challenging a grade of English. She has a good vocabulary, but she needs help learning to write essays before her exam. Explanations of how to write essays (the hamburger method, for instance) have been unclear to her. How can you help her learn to lay out her thoughts in this new format?

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