Learning Ideas for Students with an Auditory Learning Style

Do you want someone to talk you through something before you try it? You might have an auditory learning style.

If you learn best by hearing information, the ideas in this list will help you make the most of the time you have for learning and studying.

What's your learning style? Find out.

We have lists for other learning styles, too!

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Listen to audio books

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More and more books are available in audio every day, many read by their authors. This is a wonderful opportunity for auditory learners, who can now listen to books in the car or just about anyplace, on a wide variety of audio devices.

Need help finding audio books:

  • The Top Eight Sites for Free Audio Books
  • 8 Sites with Free Audio Books for iPod and iPhone
  • 15 Places to Find Free Audio Books
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Read aloud

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Reading your homework out loud to yourself or anyone else will help you "hear" the information. It also helps readers improve rhythm. A bonus! You'll need a private study space for this practice, of course.

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Teach what you have learned

Teaching by Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy - Getty Images
Teaching by Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy - Getty Images

Teaching what you have just learned is one of the very best ways to remember new material. Even if you have to teach your cat of your dog, saying something out loud will tell you if you truly understand it or not.

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Find a study buddy

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Studying with a buddy can make learning easier and a lot more fun for auditory learners. Just having someone to talk with about new information helps understanding sink in. Take turns explaining new concepts to each other.

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Associate music with ideas and concepts

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Some people are excellent at associating different kinds of music with certain areas of learning. If music helps you remember new things, try listening to the same kind of music every time you learn a certain topic.

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Find a quiet space if sounds distract you

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If music and other sounds are more of a distraction than a help to you, create a quiet study place for yourself at home, or find a quiet spot in a local library. Wear headphones without listening to anything if it helps block out ambient sounds. If you can't get rid of the sounds around you, try white noise in your headphones.

Wendy Boswell, our Guide to Web Search, found three free online sources of white noise.

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Participate in class

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It's especially important for auditory learners to participate in class by asking and answering questions, volunteering to moderate discussion groups, etc. If you're an auditory learner, the more you participate, the more you'll get out of class.

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Give oral reports

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Whenever teachers allow, give your reports verbally in class. This is your strength, and the more you practice speaking in front of groups, the greater your gift will become.

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Ask for verbal instructions

If you would rather have someone tell you how to do something or about how something works, ask for verbal instructions even when you're handed an owner's manual or written directions. There is nothing wrong with asking someone to review material with you.

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Ask permission to record lectures

Find a reliable recording device and record your classes for later review. Be sure to ask permission first, and test how far away you need to be to capture a clear recording. Susan Ward has a nice list of reviewed voice recorders: Top Digital Voice Recorders.

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Sing your notes

Make up your own jingles! Most auditory learners are very good with music. If you can sing, and you're somewhere where you won't annoy the people around you, try singing your notes. This could be a whole lot of fun, or a disaster. You'll know.

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Use the power of story

Story is an under-appreciated tool for many students. It has a lot of power, and it's especially helpful to auditory learners. Make sure you understand the hero's journey. Incorporate stories into your oral reports. Consider getting involved in helping people tell the stories of their lives.

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Use mnemonics

Mnemonics are phrases or rhymes that help students remember theories, lists, etc. These are especially helpful to the auditory learner. Judy Parkinson includes lots of fun mnemonics in her book i before e (except after c), and Grace Fleming includes a list of common mnemonics on her About Homework/Study Tips site.

Melissa Kelly also has a nice list of Top 10 Mnemonic Devices.

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Incorporate rhythm

Rhythm is a great tool for auditory learners who are likely to be good at music. Incorporating rhythm with mnemonics is especially fun. Our Rhythm Recap ice breaker could be a fun way for students to study on their own.

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Buy software that reads to you

Software is available that can read material out loud for people, and write for them, too. It's pricey, but if you can afford it, what a nice way for auditory learners to make the most of their study time. Ann Logsdon, Guide to Learning Disabilities, reviewed Read & Write Gold - A Text Reading and Writing Program for us.

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Talk to yourself

People might think you're a little on the crazy side if you walk around talking to yourself, but used in the right environment, whispering what you're reading or memorizing can help auditory learners. Just be careful not to bother others.