Encourage a child's interpersonal intelligence


January 14, 2001

Editor's Note: Jerdine Nolen continues her series on Multiple Intelligences with a discussion of Interpersonal Intelligence.

Humans need to connect and bond with one another. Being part of a team or a group and working alongside others can yield wonderful experiences for many of us. A child who adapts well to such circumstances may fall under a type of learning Howard Gardner (renowned for his theory of Multiple Intelligences) calls "Interpersonal Intelligence" -- the ability to perceive and make distinctions in the moods, intentions, motivations and feelings of other people.

This child will seem to be keenly sensitive to body language, what's said between the lines. Further, this type of learner exhibits the ability to interpret such behavior and respond to those cues. Because so much of what it means to be human involves our interactions with others in social groups and teams, it's very easy for parents and caregivers to support the development of this intelligence in their child. Working successfully with others on teams and in groups is key to learning and success in school and in life.

A child who leans toward interpersonal intelligence might possess skills such as: working and learning cooperatively in groups, enthusiastically sharing ideas, peer teaching and conflict mediation.

The future for such a learner is promising, with paths leading toward politics, religion, teaching and acting all falling within the realm of possibility. Effective Learning Activities and Strategies for Interpersonal Intelligence:

sharing information freely with peers, facilitating discussion among peers, teaching peers

cross-age tutoring

practicing storytelling in a group

working with a team

conducting interviews

partnering with others on various projects

playing board games

participating in academic clubs

A resident of Ellicott City, Jerdine Nolen is the award-winning children's book author of "Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm" and "Raising Dragons." Her most recent book is "Big Jabe." She is a former teacher and administrator in elementary education and has personally field-tested her suggestions on her son and daughter.

Revisit much-loved childhood stories

Nostalgic adults comb antiquarian stores for pivotal pieces of their childhood: books. Little ones should also get the opportunity to appreciate the value of a good read. Don't underestimate kids, who seem to inherently know the rules of collecting (Pokemon, anyone?). Namely, find what you like and value -- no doubt it's on someone else's list as well. To take it a step further, accumulate with some discretion, but don't discard well-worn (and loved) books -- it would be sad if that's the only one around 50 years from now.

Go to the pros, who will show you what it means to go back through time and pull a treasure into the present. There are many resources locally. The Enoch Pratt Free Library keeps a retrospective selection of children's literature spanning five decades from 1930 through 1980. If it's not enough just to borrow the books, there is a place in town where you can purchase beloved childhood classics -- Drusilla's Books.

For more information, call the Pratt's Children's Department at 410-396-5430 and Drusilla's Books at 410-225-0277.

-- Athima Chansanchai

New York Times Children's

Picture Book Best Sellers

Editor's Note: The children's best-seller list has three categories -- picture books, chapter books, and paperbacks -- which are published in rotation, one category per week.

1. "If You Take a Mouse to the Movies" by Laura Numeroff (weeks on list: 13)

2. "Olivia" by Ian Falconer (14)

3. "Stranger in the Woods" by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick (3)

4. "Dream Snow" by Eric Carle (13)

5. "The Brand New Kid" by Katie Couric (11)

6. "Mick Foley's Christmas Chaos" by Mick Foley (9)

7. "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum (9)

8. "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Movie Storybook" adapted by Louise Gikow (9)

9. "Where Do Balloons Go?" by Jamie Lee Curtis (17)

10. "The Quiltmaker's Gift" by Jeff Brumbeau (10)

Contact us

The Sun invites readers to send in tips about encouraging children to read, and we will print them on this page or on sunspot.net, our place on the Internet. Please include your name, town and daytime phone number. Send suggestions by fax to 410-783-2519; by e-mail to sun.features@baltsun.com; or by mail to Reading by 9 Parent Tips, The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

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