(This is the second post in the series called I Don’t Understand You! – Learning How to Connect with Your Child When They Think Differently than You. If you haven’t read the first post already, you’ll want to start there.)
I’ve known that kids can be visual learners, auditory learners, and/or kinesthetic learners for quite awhile. When I read How Am I Smart? by Kathy Koch, however, I was surprised to learn that there are actually EIGHT different ways that kids can think. (I’m sure there are even more than that because people are complex! But I digress.) This post will deal with the first way of thinking – which is someone who is word smart.
Obviously, kids who are word smart think with words. When they get excited they like to talk. They also enjoy reading, writing, speaking and/or listening. They are often able to tackle traditional school subjects more easily than other kids although this isn’t always the case.
Word smart kids are usually characterized by several of the following:
- Talk even when no one is listening
- Almost constant chatter
- Often jot notes to themselves
- Can be distracted by the voice inside their head
- Able to teach others – make good tutors
- Often begin talking at an early age
- Like to read
- Write willingly and well
- Able to remember details
- Speak confidently and listen accurately
- Easily learn new languages
- Good communicators
If your child has several of the above characteristics then they are probably word smart.
One of my sons is word smart. He learned to talk and to read at a young age. I remember watching him babble when he was a baby and wondering what he was thinking. It didn’t take long before he told us exactly what he was thinking – and he hasn’t stopped talking since!
Word smart kids are the ones who will talk your ear off. They can get into trouble by talking when they shouldn’t be. Other weaknesses for these kids can be teasing, gossiping, and name calling. They can have a bent toward arguing and are often good at persuading others. These kids crave having the last word. They can also become prideful at their intellectual abilities.
Word smart kids have a lot of good qualities as well. They can be good at giving speeches. They are also good at encouraging others and at telling the truth at any cost. They enjoy instructing others verbally. Often, these kids are great writers as well – although this isn’t always the case because my word smart son hates to write! 🙂
Here are some practical ways for connecting with your word smart child:
- Listen to them – These kids have a desperate need to be heard. Rather than telling your child to stop talking, listen to them. Listen closely to their stories and explanations. Ask questions to show your interest in what they have to say. Be available when they need to think out loud. Be sure you’re giving them good eye contact and really focusing on them.
- Let them talk at home – Give them many opportunities to talk at home. Discuss books, tv shows, world events, etc. with these kids.
- Let them talk elsewhere – Give them opportunities to talk outside of home. Enroll them in a speech class or a book club, set up get togethers with their friends, try to find volunteer opportunities where they can read books to younger kids or the elderly, etc.
- Play games – These kids often enjoy playing trivia games so they can show off everything they know. They also like playing games like Scrabble and completing crossword puzzles.
- Provide appropriate materials – Provide them with books and other materials about topics that interest them.
- Reaching them spiritually – These kids often appreciate looking up different translations of the same Bible verse or passage. They also might enjoy learning the Greek or Hebrew definitions of words while studying the Bible.
Word smart kids end up being great teachers, pastors, counselors, journalists, editors, lawyers, radio or television news people, librarians, and politicians.
Here are some great methods for teaching these kids:
- Taking Notes (if they enjoy writing)
- Word Games
- Reading Aloud
- Journal Writing
- Books on Tape
- Research Papers
- Giving Speeches
Make reading to your child and engaging in meaningful conversations a priority in your homeschool. Even kids who think in a similar manner are still unique individuals. Study your child to determine which of these methods will work best for them. For more tips for helping you to understand your Word Smart Child, please check out Kathy Koch’s book, How Am I Smart?
Next week, we will examine how to connect with your Logic Smart Child.
Question: Do you have a Word Smart Child? Have you found any other clever ways to connect with your child? What has your experience been like when dealing with a child who thinks differently than you? Please leave a comment below.