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Harvard professor Howard Gardner published a revolutionary book in 1983 called Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.  Since then, Professor Gardner has expanded his ides.  He now posits nine types of intelligence:  linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, personal, naturalist, and big questions.  The implication of this theory, explored in a cottage industry of additional books, is that each intelligence has an associated learning style that is most effective for it. Some authors applying this theory define the following learning styles:  auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.  

You probably understand these learning styles at a common sense level.  You may be able to function in all modes, but find you understand best when you see a visual representation of something you are trying to learn as opposed to listening to a lecture.  On the other hand, you may have noticed that your child has a different preferred learning style.  For example, a student may be driven to touch and learns best through this mode. In this case, your student may understand mathematical material best when it is presented using hands-on manipulatives to bridge understanding from the concrete to the theoretical, to actually feel the concept with the hand or with the entire body.  The best teachers have intuited this idea and historically used all modes to present their material to a class.  



Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner – The 1983 classic on multiple intelligences. Read a more recent release that includes his forward updating his number of intelligences.

So Each May Learn: Integrating Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences by Harvey F. Silver and Richard W Strong – The authors provide an overview of Myers-Briggs theory as it applies to learning styles.  The also provide an overview Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory.  They then demonstrate how to combine the two theories in the practice of teaching.

Discover Your Child’s Learning Style: Personalized Learning for Student Success by Mariaemma Willis and Victoria Kindle Hodson – This book goes beyond the basic learning styles to discuss other factors influencing learning including the child’s talents, interests, preferred learning environment, and disposition.  This is a practical book to help the adult diagnose these factors for the child, and then help maximize the child’s learning.