The Gift of Gab: How to Help your Verbal Linguistic Learner
Words hold power. And special fascination for some children.  Maybe your kid could not get enough of Pirate Word, the board game where you roll dice and try your best to spell words, the longer the better, to get your character across water to the treasure chest.  Or you have a toddler who could recite all the lines from her favorite Pixar movie, or a tween who lives for memes.  Or a teen who will not shy away from debate with anyone, including his parents!

Some people gravitate toward language as a way to understand the world and communicate. We call them Verbal Linguistic Learners (VLL), in the framework of the eight multiple intelligences [insert link].

For some individuals – parents, as well as kids – the verbal talents and interests could be all-defining.  Others have multiple learning styles.

Either way, having this knowledge about your child helps!  Even if your own inclinations are, say, towards math or visual communication, there are many ways that homeschooling can help you tailor what works best for your child.

Is My Child a Verbal / Linguistic Learner?

Here are some ways that VLL’s are described.  No one will fit this whole description, but the following generally will help you figure it out.

VLL’s are good with words and also have highly developed auditory skills. They enjoy reading and writing, often from a young age. They thrive as storytellers, speakers, and comedians.  In addition, they remember information well and can be very persuasive. Think word games, book collections, diaries and sticky notes all over their room, and long discussions about something they read. Kids who are VLL’s often like to write stories, or start their own newspapers, or even pen poems!

If your own style is different, this can get annoying. VLL’s are the type of people who notice grammatical errors and might not be shy about telling you so! While it could come across as pompous, it’s really just a reflection of how they think and what they notice. They may not realize they are doing it.  Words really do matter to them.

If in doubt, you could have your child tested for learning style. And if it seems that this is one of several aptitudes, that’s ok. You can experiment and teach to their strengths to see what works best. As a home educator, you have many options to tackle this!

How Do I Help My VLL Child Learn?

Let’s start with materials. What helps the most are educational materials that help VLL kids connect with words. Books. Paper books. E-books. Audio books. Websites. Apps for learning vocabulary. Dictionaries.

Board games such as Scrabble, Mad Lib, Pirate Word, Boggle, Bananagrams and similar are also great.

So is a generous supply of pens in different colors, papers, notepads, sticky notes, diaries, whatever your family prefers. Your VLL might enjoy having something to write with on a wall board. Or to scribble on during long car rides.

For overall approach to teaching, use descriptive language. When showing a map or a chart, talk it through with them. That helps them grasp the information better.  Jokes and riddles might go a long way.  So would the opportunity for your child to make up his or her own words.

Clever acronyms can help memorize difficult concepts. Remember how to solve the sum or difference of perfect cubes? The word “soap” helps.  It stands for “same, opposite, always positive,” and if your child studying into Algebra 2 the reference will make sense!

Another approach is to put mathematical or scientific concepts into words that relate to his or her life. Turn 2+2 = 4 into a sentence.  For example, the cat has two front paws. And two back paws. How many paws does the cat have altogether?

Their VLL Activities to Use

There is a lot you can do to encourage VLL learning outside the home. If you child is old enough to volunteer, there may be a library program where teen volunteers read at story time or help young kids put on a short play. Local organizations might have opportunities to pair your adolescent with English language learners.

If your child is interested in community causes, he or she might want to volunteer with communications for a political campaign. Another good activity could be writing blurbs for the local animal shelter.

Are foreign languages a big interest? Explore language apps and local cultural events with your child. Consider an exchange program, where he or she might be paired online with a child in another country. Participants take turns speaking in their native languages, so that both people learn.

Explore opportunities for public speaking, debate, improvisation and storytelling with your child.

VLL Career Interests

No one can predict for sure, of course, and many industries are changing quickly. Communications related careers could be a natural fit. Your child might become a writer or editor, teacher, journalist or actor.  Careers that intersect with language work, such as political advocacy or public policy, are another possibility.

If your child develops another strong interest - for example, medicine - their VLL aptitude might encourage them to become a doctor who also writes books or op-ed pieces for the general public.  Or an economist who conducts research for a financial firm and runs their blog about industry trends.

With his or her gift of words the whole world is open to possibilities, so embrace the learning style and enjoy the ride!

Further Reading:
Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century

You're Smarter Than You Think: A Kid's Guide to Multiple Intelligences

In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child's Multiple Intelligences

Five Minds for the Future

Bright Hub. (2010)
Verbal Linguistic  Intelligence.
Gilam, Lynn (2001)
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
Glencoe Online. (2010)
My Personality Info. (2010)