Kids Sensory Game

Unlocking Reading Potential: The Power of Multisensory Instruction In The Classroom

We know firsthand the difficulty that may arise while teaching students who, despite our best efforts, continue to have trouble grasping certain concepts. It can be frustrating to see some students easily understand new material while others seem to struggle despite repeated instruction. But what if the issue isn’t that these students are less intelligent but that their learning styles simply require a different approach?

Recent research has shown that our brains are capable of adapting and making new connections, even into old age. With this in mind, it is important to consider how different students may process and retain information. The brain receives stimuli through our five senses—sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste—and uses this information to recognize sensations, initiate behaviors, and store memories.

One effective way to address this is through the use of multisensory activities. These activities can be implemented daily in our classrooms and can benefit all students by reinforcing strengths and strengthening weaknesses. By using more than one sense at a time, we can help students better understand and retain new information.

For example, a sight-based activity alone may not be enough for some students. By incorporating touch, students can manipulate letter tiles as they spell words and blend sounds. They can form letters or words with kinetic sand or play dough, or they can trace sandpaper letters with their fingers as they say and hear letter names and sounds. Similarly, hearing-based activities like singing rhyming songs or participating in read-alouds can be reinforced by visual aids like labels on classroom furniture, word walls, and anchor charts.

Another effective technique is air-writing and arm-tapping, which activate gross motor skills. By having students stand and air-write a word with their dominant arm, moving from their shoulder, it promotes large muscle movement. Similarly, when arm-tapping, students tap their arm using their dominant hand from left to right, starting at their shoulder, while saying each sound of the word as they tap. Then, have students make a sweeping motion across their arms as they say the whole word, as if underlining it.

By better understanding how different students process and retain information, we can better support their learning and help them succeed. By incorporating multisensory activities into our instruction, we can create a more inclusive and effective learning environment for all students.


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