Levine’s 8 Learning Systems & Your Child
to Look For
This is a Strength
This is a Weakness
1 Attention Control:
The system that dictates focus, alertness, planning and completion
|Does your child concentrate when reading, playing a video game,
playing sports? Is she engaged in classroom learning?
||Your child should practice behaviors that take advantage of her
concentration, such as listening to music while studying or reading.
||Your child should repeat instructions back to herself; use a timer
or stopwatch to stay with a task; go to bed earlier.
Memory: After a child understands an idea, this system helps
him store the information and retrieve it.
||How well does your child
memorize and retain what he learns in school?
|Your child should study right before bedtime, when memory consolidates
best; underline, highlight, and say ideas out loud while studying.
||Ask your child to write down steps before solving a problem; picture
things mentally; write down, diagram, or say facts out loud while
The way a child uses words, orally and in writing, understands what
is said, and reads.
||Does your child express herself well? Can she explain things thoughtfully?
Does she write
her thoughts clearly?
|As a family, have meaningful, idea-filled discussions; communicate
in complete sentences, play word games, talk about things that are
||Encourage your child to read, write, and talk about topics he loves;
tell stories and describe experiences, even if this is difficult for
Spatial Ordering: Enables your child to organize information
in visual patterns, to recognize shapes
|Is your child organized when he does homework? Does he have trouble
using scissors or sketching shapes?
||Help your child capitalize on spatial strengths through dance, sports,
or art, all of which require spatial ability.
||Help your child organize his space. Talk through spatial
relations: “I put that on the
top shelf” or “The pentagon
has five sides.”
Helps your child see the steps in solving a problem, retain the order
of tasks, follow directions, manage time.
|Does your child understand the passage of time and how to plan for
it? Can she follow multi-step instructions? Can she remember a short
list of things to do and carry them out in order?
||Your child should play or make music (a promoter of sequential ordering)
and work on multi-stage projects.
||Together, start with short lists of things to do and gradually lengthen
them; make schedules for homework, errands, vacations. Ask your child
to write down directions in school.
Skills: Your child rides a bike, plays sport, or dances using
large-motor skills; she writes or draws using small-motor skills.
||How is your child doing with cursive writing? Is he graceful or
clumsy? Does he excel at a sport or struggle with drawing or writing?
||Encourage your child in sports, dance, art and/or musical-instrument
lessons, emphasizing that these are for enjoyment as well as challenge.
||Practice forming letters. Have your child use the computer for writing
and art assignments and focus on just one sport (or opt for no sports).
Higher Thinking: Helps your child solve problems, think critically,
reason abstractly and creatively, and figure out answers that are
|Is your child quick to think up ideas for the science fair? Does
she wonder what happens in her book after the story ends? Or is she
academically sound but struggling to see past the facts to the bigger
||Help your child follow his
intuitive mental and creative drives, be they science,
cooking, comedy, collecting, drawing, etc.
|Try brainstorming to spur
imagination and creative thought.
Thinking: The ability to make and sustain friendships, relate
to others, work in teams, and address conflicts. Some argue that this
is the most important learning system.
||Does your child get along with his peers? Does he have some close
friendships? Can he
relate to adults? Can he work out problems with his friends?
|Encourage your child to enjoy successful peer interaction, but also
help him remember to be an individual and feel good when being independent.
||Let your child use you as a sounding board when she
has social challenges. Talk about social challenges you experience
and solve at work.