September 7, 2007

Learning with Intelligence(s)

By now your child may already be into his second or third week of school. Thus, he is beginning to deal with some in-depth homework or study needs. And you may be wondering how best to help him get off on the right foot.

One sure-fire way to help a child improve her likelihood of school success is to help her use her multiple intelligence strengths as she studies. Kathy’s book, How Am I Smart?, discusses many ways to do that.

A few specific examples:

1. Word Smart: It’s essential that we read aloud to our children, even after they can read on their own. This improves a child’s listening vocabulary, which is crucial to school success. We know most young children enjoy story times. And so do many older kids! When I taught at the high school level, my upperclassmen loved when I read out loud to them. And it clearly made difference in their classroom performance.

2. Body Smart: My older daughter is particularly body smart – she needs to move! Of course, children need to temper such behavior in a classroom, but, when we help them study, we should use it to their advantage. For example, I discovered last year that Rachel could much more easily practice counting to 100 when I allowed her to hop or skip as she did so. So this year, I’ll continue that idea as we practice such things as spelling words and math facts.

3. Picture Smart: When I was in high school, I meticulously re-copied my science notes each night. Many would find that practice extremely tedious, but I’m picture smart. So re-doing the notes – in very neat handwriting using multiple colors and adding detailed drawings – enabled me to remember the material so well that I seldom needed to study hard before exams. My studying had happened as I made pretty pictures!

I hope these ideas have piqued your interest enough to read the book. Being aware of your child’s intelligence strengths (and weaknesses) really could make the difference between frustration and joy this school year.


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