Learning Differences of the Right and Left Brain


Dyslexic children and adults are right-brained thinkers who have a different learning style from left-brained individuals.  They need to be taught to understand what information they require to process information, how to retain it and ultimately apply and use it effectively.

A dyslexic should also determine which learning senses are strongest for them (visual, auditory or kinesthetic) and be taught how to use them in the learning process.

Here is a basic list of differences between left and right-brained thinking and learning styles.

The Right Brain

  • Sees, thinks and processes information in whole, concrete images, therefore, it does not use a step-by-step method to reach a conclusion.
  • Has difficulty understanding the parts of whole images without the whole object present. For example if a teacher is using an orange cut up into pieces to demonstrate fractions there should also be a whole orange in view of the student to keep the “whole” picture in their minds.
  • Has difficulty thinking in sequences and has to be trained in sequencing skills, using concrete materials and visual aids. Examples of aids are: blocks with and without letters or numbers, flashcards, multiplication tables, coins for understanding money, clock faces with removable numbers, etc.
  • The right brain is reality-based because it thinks in whole, concrete images; that is, it thinks in whole pictures and does not think in the abstract. Therefore, it cannot work easily with abstract symbols like words and numbers.
  • Thinks inductively and analytically starting with a conclusion or fact and working “backwards“ over the parts that make up and explain the conclusion.
  • Thinks multi-dimensionally, or comprehending a subject on many different analytical levels. Therefore a right-brained person will not fully understand a concept until all aspects of the subject are put together to form the whole image or conclusion.
  • Has difficulty focusing on and organizing a large body of information such as a school project with written material, drawings, photos, references, etc. This is because a right-brained person is always using a multi-dimensional thinking process and can get confused where to start on a project and how to put it together in a logical, step-by-step format.
  • Thinks emotionally, intuitively, creatively, globally and analytically.
  • May have difficulty with the verbal or language arts skills of hand printing, phonics, spelling, reading, writing sentences and paragraphs.
  • May also have difficulty understanding and working with mathematical concepts of time, measurements, size and weights, money, fractions, number facts, word problems, algebra and geometry.
  • May not be able to follow oral and written instructions without a visual demonstration. Needs all three senses involved: listening, seeing and touching.
  • Reacts best to visual images, oral discussions and handling objects.
  • May excel in music, art, drawing, athletics and coordinated physical movement.
  • May be naturally mechanically-minded always taking things apart, repairing or improving them without instruction or even coming up with new inventions.
  • Remembers faces, places and events very well but may not recall their names easily.
  • May have a photographic memory for images, reading selections, oral discussions, places visited and musical works.

The Left Brain

  • Thinks in abstract letters, numbers, written words and formulas.
  • Excels in mathematics, reading, spelling, writing, sequencing and the use of verbal and written language.
  • Is strongly verbal and reacts best to verbal input.
  • Responds well to phonics when learning to spell and read.
  • Handles sequencing of numbers, letters, words, sentences and ideas easily.
  • Does not need to visualize in whole, concrete images to understand ideas, both concrete and abstract.
  • Sees the parts within the whole first, then arrives at the whole concept of a given idea (deductive reasoning which means starting with a question and working through all the parts to reach a conclusion.
  • Processes deductively, answering open-ended questions and reaching a conclusion by processing logically, step by step.