How to Teach Your Right-Brained Child


Infographic from via Ford Knoxville

Do you have a child who daydreams, has difficulty following directions, sits halfway out of her seat, doodles on her schoolwork, has difficulty with decoding and phonics, is messy, or impulsive?  If so, he or she may be right-brain dominant.  Not all right-brain dominant kids exhibit all of these characteristics and all people have both left- and right-hemisperic characteristics but most people seem to have a dominant side.  As many as 80% of struggling learners are right-brain dominant.  Not that right-brain dominance is a weakness, most school curriculums teach in a more left-brained style.  Think about this list:  workbooks, worksheets, rote memorization, timed tests, lectures,

What exactly is brain dominance or hemispheric dominance and how can understanding it help you and your children?

Understanding brain dominance will go a long way to helping you understand (and appreciate) your child (or husband – grin) and to develop ways to help him or her to learn and communicate more effectively.

How the Brain Works

The brain is made up of two halves or hemisperes – the right brain and the left brain.  These are connected to each other by a thick cable of nerves at the base of each brain called the corpus collosum.  A good analogy is that of two seperate, incredibly fast and immensly powerful computers, each running different programs from the same input, connected by a network cable.

Most scientists agree that there are definite differences in the way each hemisphere of the brain works.  Essentially, the right brain deals with emotions, feelings, creativity, and intuition.  The left brain is linear, logical, and focuses on one thing at a time.

uses logic uses feeling
detail oriented “big picture” oriented
verbal non verbal
facts rule imagination rules
words & language symbols & images
math & science philosophy & religion
order/pattern perception spatial perception
knows object name knows object function
reality based fantasy based
forms strategies presents possibilities
practical impetuous
safe risk taking

Determining Your Brain Dominance

There are a few simple on line tests that you can take to help determine if you are right-brained, left-brained or somehwere in between.  They are not exactly scientific but will give you a general idea.

I took the on line screening test and learned that I am mostly left-brained while my husband and most of my children are mostly right-brain dominant.  I suspected that God had a pretty well-developed sense of humor when He gave me 8 children – but now He has confirmed it!  As with many things in life, a little understanding and knowledge can go a long way to making issues manageable.

Teaching a Right-Brained Student 

As many as 80% of struggling learners are right-brain dominant.  Not that right-brain dominance is a weakness, it is just that most school curriculums teach in a more left-brained style.  Think about this list:  workbooks, worksheets, rote memorization, timed tests, lectures, studying spelling and vocabulary using written lists.  If your child is struggling with these methods of schooling, you may do well to change the way you are teaching.  It isn’t that hard.  By tapping into the strong right-brain strengths – music, color, emotion, humor – your homeschool days will go much better!

Right Brain Teaching Techniques

  • Use visual resources such as white board or chalkboard
  • Doing subjects together in a group with lots of discussion
  • In lieu of writing a paper, let students create a project (poster, comic strip, write a movie reivew instead of a report,  etc)
  • Play music during study time
  • Use color and pictures on flahscards to get spelling or vocabulary words to stick

Resources for Right Brain Teaching Strategies

Dianne Craft’s Teaching the Right-Brained Child


Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World by Jeffery Freed and Laurie Parsons

Having a right-brain dominant learner can be challenging {especially if you are left-brain dominant} but working alongside them according to their strengths will encourage positive learning for years to come.  Finding out what makes them tick, where their passions lie and including that into your curriculum will give them the motivation to overcome their reading and writing difficulties.

Remember, some of the brightest and most successsful people on the planet are right-brained, thinkers.  It doesn’t take much for a left-brained teaching method to crush the creative spirit of the right-brain student as testified to by the many public schooled adults who have survived to tell the tale.  By stepping out of the box and into thier world, you will discover that rather than a ‘disability’ their way of thinking is truely a gift of God.

“Logic will get you from A to B.  Imagination will take you everywhere.”  

Albert Einstein

This post contains affiliate links.

Other posts of interest:

Dyslexia – What To Do?

The Ultimate List of Dyslexia Resources

Help for the Older Struggling Reader

Early Signs of Dyslexia

10 Little Known Advantages to Dyslexia

Marianne Sunderland

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. As always, just what I needed to read at just the right time. Thank you for sharing this. It is so informative and encouraging.

  2. Super helpful post! Thank you!


  1. […] How to Teach Your Right-Brained Child on Abundant Life – Marianne explains how the brain works with regards to hemispheres and offers teaching tips for right-brained children. […]

Speak Your Mind