1. What observations do you notice in your clinical reading sessions when you incorporated learning styles into the instruction? Please comment on your student’s achievement, motivation, behavior, etc…
2. How did your student(s) respond differently when learning styles are included in your reading lesson as opposed to lessons without the inclusion of learning styles?
3. What suggestions might you share with your child’s classroom teacher based on your findings using learning styles inventory and teaching?
A survey technique is especially appropriate when it is not possible to interview everyone individually, as in this study. Surveys help extract information that would be unreachable with other techniques (Hubbard & Power, 2012).
The open-ended data was analyzed through qualitative measures by identifying categories emerging from the raw data, a process known as open-coding (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). The responses were read and reread by three individuals to identify categories. During the subsequent analysis, these categories were modified or replaced. Differences in category identification were resolved by discussing the data until a consensus was reached. Once categories were identified, the impact of learning styles on reading lessons at a university reading clinic was evident from the perceptions of the teachers. A distinct, reoccurring theme in the interview data was the relationship of student success in literacy to the incorporation of reading/learning styles in literacy instruction. Further analysis revealed the following themes:
Question 1: What observations do you notice in your clinical reading sessions when you incorporated learning styles into the instruction? While incorporating learning styles, the students were:
∙ Highly motivated
∙ More successful in reading tasks
Question 2: How did your student(s) respond differently when learning styles are included in
your reading lesson? Students with reading learning styles incorporated into the lesson:
∙ Accomplished more in the time parameters set
∙ Seemed more intrinsically motivated when lessons were adapted to learning styles
∙ Were much more focused
∙ Stayed on task
∙ Were much more willing and eager to engage in reading and related activities
∙ Desired to read increased substantially
∙ Were much more actively involved in the lesson
Students without learning styles incorporated into lesson:
∙ Were more easily distracted
∙ Were often confused
∙ Struggled more
∙ Were bored
∙ Were frustrated
Question 3: What suggestions might you share with your child’s classroom teacher based on your findings using learning styles inventory and teaching?
∙ Learn Reading Styles of students - it will make a huge difference in student performance;
∙ Become familiar with multiple techniques to vary your teaching – implementing kinesthetic, visual, and auditory activities as well as independent and group work; and
∙ Vary the environment to better meet all needs.
Discussion: Practical Ways to Differentiate with Reading Styles in the Elementary Classroom
This study reinforced the decades of research clearly indicating when students are taught through their reading styles, their ability to learn to read accelerates (Oglesby & Suter, 1995). Not only will using reading styles within the lesson help children become more proficient, as they experience success, it also will help encourage them to read more and more often. So, what might a prudent educator take from this study and immediately implement in the classroom? The following suggestions are a way to begin:
1. Learn how to determine reading styles. This can be done through observation, checklists such as the Global/Analytic Reading Styles Checklist (Carbo, 2007), or a computerized test such as the Reading Styles Inventory (available at ww.nrsi.com)
2. Try it out! Start with one student to practice giving, interpreting, and utilizing the suggestions provided by the assessment. Have the assessment pulled up on the computer. Then, reserving about thirty minutes, have the student answer the questions. After completion, the analyzed results will be available to view online.