How children learn is an excerpt from the best selling book Instant Learning for Amazing Grades by Pat Wyman.

Mrs. Lane’s class had spent the past several days learning about the Declaration of Independence.

Her students read about it in their books, listened to her talk about it in class, did various projects on it for homework and shared information about it in group activities.  Mrs. Lane gave her students a written test on the material and began to grade the papers.  The test contained some essay, short answer and multiple choice questions.

As a bit of background, all her students were present during the instructional period, all did the work in class and at home and all took part in the small group activities.  Mrs. Lane really thought she new how children learn best.

how children learn When Mrs. Lane finished grading the papers she was very surprised to discover that her students’ grades ranged from A’s to F’s.  As she sat at home grading the papers she wondered why.  “Why didn’t they all get an A?” she thought.  “It seemed as if they all knew the material during class.”  “I was so sure I understood how children learn.”

Actually, the answer lies in the difference between how her students learned, how they stored and how they retrieved the material they studied as they took their written test. Each student used different brain pathways or different “memory lanes” as they tried to remember what they studied and answer the test questions.

This mis-match is significant in how children learn.

The Road From Learning To Testing in How Children Learn

In every group of children is a magnificent mix who learn in every possible way.  Many parents mistakenly believes that they already know how children learn so their child should always get A’s, but this may not be accurate.

Children have natural styles or learning senses through which they process incoming information. They prefer to use certain styles use when learning, storing and recalling new information. This process is called:

Input, storage, output and it is what you need to know about how children learn.

The child uses his or her preferred learning style to input new information into the brain, store it in the brain, and then retrieve or recall the information when needed.  These preferences for learning styles are critical to understanding how children learn.

Think of using brain pathways like this: You’re driving along and hear your favorite song. You probably remember how you felt the first time you heard it.

Most likely you can even remember where you were, who you were with and what was going on around you the first time you heard it. Those pathways are well-worn and work the same way every time you hear that song.

Your child is doing the same thing when studying and recalling. He or she is using and accessing certain “memory lane” brain pathways to recall and write the information that was learned.  The memory lane pathways help you understand how children learn.

Sometimes, however, – they use the “wrong lanes or pathways” and they can’t find the answers they need. It isn’t that they don’t really know the information, but haven’t studied it in a way they can quickly and easily find it during a written test.

When a student’s preferred learning and storage style matches the output style in which they are tested, a natural flow occurs and all goes well and this is how children learn best.

So, what are the learning styles how can you use this information to help your child achieve higher grades and better test results?

Remember the three styles we talked about a few pages back? They are:

Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic.

When we talk more about learning styles in another chapter, a true understanding of how children learn can take place.

For more information on how children learn take a look at the Instant Learning for Amazing Grades book.

Pat WymanPat Wyman is a best selling author, America’s Most Trusted Learning Expert and the founder of  Her passion is helping children and adults learn how to learn and training teachers to help students succeed by knowing how children learn.



Posted by +Pat Wyman, author and founder of