Video summary: Multisensory approach

A multisensory approach refers to learning in such a way that it engages more than one sensory system at a time, which is important because children have different learning styles.

The most common forms of teaching handwriting are visual and auditory, and for some learners, this information can be confusing. Look at the letter ‘b’ and ‘d’ and even listening to the sound ‘ba’ and ‘da’ they are very similar and difficult to distinguish apart for a young writer. This is where using a multisensory approach is useful because learners will be exposed to different ways of exploring letters or shapes without picking up a pencil.

If we look at the different sensory modalities, we have:

  • Sight: used to see the letter, visual representations around the classroom or prompts on their desks. Activities such as matching letters.
  • Auditory: listen to the teacher pronounce the sound of each letter. Some handwriting systems have songs or rhymes about the letter is formed and this is another way to help learners become familiar with the different shapes of letters.
  • Tactile: we want our learners to explore letters through touch. Writing letters in damp sand, shaving cream, or rice. Write letters on a whiteboard and ask learners to wipe them off with their finger. Cut letters out of sandpaper and ask them to trace over these letters. Using playdough to make letters.
  • Kinaesthetic: Learners using arms and body. They can trace shapes in the air, or tracing big letters written on paper and ask them to feel how the letters are formed.

As mentioned early, children learn in different ways and by using a multisensory approach you are helping more learners give their brains more information about handwriting for it to store and use.

 “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin