8 Great Smarts shows parents how to recognize, encourage, and build on their child’s particular kinds of “smart.”
8 Great Smarts: Discover and Nurture Your Child’s Intelligences by Kathy Koch. Moody, 2016, 236 pages including notes and appendices.
Recommended for: adults, especially parents and teachers
I first encountered the notion of “learning styles” when my husband attended a business seminar and shared what he had learned about visual, aural, and kinesthetic ways of processing information. That was a pretty basic division, but not long after that I immersed myself in home schooling, where I encountered systems of four, eight, even sixteen learning styles. I also encountered skepticism about the “learning style” theory, but still. While theories compete and no two are exactly alike, we can all agree that no two children are exactly alike either. And yet human personality traits tend to fall into categories where they can be sorted and sifted. Recognizing them in our own kids can be useful.
Kathy Koch (pronounced “cook”) is a PhD and well-known parent conference speaker, also the founder and president of Celebrate Kids. More than that: she’s a committed Christian who longs to see every child glorify God with his or her gifts. Every child is gifted: “When you and your child understand there are eight intelligences, the question changes from ‘Am I smart?’ and ‘How smart am I?’ to the much more valuable ‘How am I smart?’
Let’s count the ways: a child can be Word Smart (“I think with words”), Logic Smart (“I think with questions”), Body Smart (“I think with movement and touch”), Nature Smart (“I think with patterns”), and so on—and almost certainly a combination of two or more. For each chapter, Kathy offers tips on the indicators of that particular smart, as well as appropriate teaching methods, strengths and weaknesses, ways to encourage both academic and spiritual growth, and possible career paths. The content is somewhat repetitious and vague at times. A parent will probably want to know more, but as it turns out there is more on the Celebrate Kids website, including a diagnostic quiz. The quiz requires a password, which is in the book. I can’t in good conscience include the password in this review, but I found the book at the library, and maybe you can too.
No system is a silver bullet with guaranteed results, but 8 Great Smarts is both helpful and encouraging.
Overall Rating: 4.5