The child who knows herself


January 28, 2001

Advice and strategies to help your children read

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

Have you ever met someone whose self-assurance you envied? Though all of us have insecurities, some individuals find a way early on to surmount plaguing doubts. Think about this sublimely confident -- not cocky -- child. Does she have a high degree of self-awareness? That might point to "Intrapersonal Intelligence." This means that she has a heightened understanding of her moods, motivations, desires and the ability to act adaptively on the basis of that knowledge. She probably has a realistic picture of herself, acquired through self reflection. Individuals like this have a healthy self esteem, are often self-motivated and self-disciplined. She has no illusions about herself, as she is able to project an honest, accurate and comprehensive picture of her strengths and limitations.

This child can be left alone to study by herself. She can also be counted on to set personal goals and work diligently on individual projects. Her powers of concentration can be credited to a gift for introspective thinking.

Possible career interests for such a child include novelist, therapist, psychologist or philosopher. But rest assured, this will be a girl who knows her own mind and what she wants to do with it.

You can help her out with these effective learning activities and strategies:

diary / journal

writing reflective essays


writing dialogues with characters, famous people, familiar faces

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.

Writing ideas for fun and adventure

Discovery Kids' "365 Adventures" by Marc Tyler Nobleman gives kids a year's worth of activities to do -- as if school and extracurricular activities weren't enough!

Among the more literary-minded fun:

#9: Keep a dream journal. Keep a notebook and pencil by your bed and, as soon as you wake up, write down as many details about your dream as you can.

#11: Write a dog (or cat) dictionary. Interpret the body language of your favorite pet.

#145: Create a menu with all of your favorite dishes.

#148: Attend a book signing. We have plenty of local bookstores that feature children's book authors.

-- Athima Chansanchai

Spinning a tale about kente cloth

One activity your kids can embark on locally is a visit to the Enoch Pratt Free Library (Central / downtown branch), where Loyola College professor Margaret Musgrove will present her latest book, "Spider Weaver: A Legend of Kente Cloth." In 1977, Musgrove's book "Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions" earned a Caldecott Medal for its lush illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon.

Though African-Americans may be familiar with kente cloth, many might not know its mystical origins. Borrowing from a traditional tale from Ghana, Musgrove weaves together an engaging story of magical spiders and innovative designers. On Saturday, Feb. 3, come and sit with the author as she reads from this work, and immerse your children in the first of many events celebrating Black History Month. For more information, call 410-396-5494.

New York Times Children's Paperback 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. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling (weeks on list: 62)

2. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by J.K. Rowling (19)

3. "Holes" by Louis Sachar (19)

4. "Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul" compiled by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Hansen and Irene Dunlap (13)

5. "Life's Strategies for Teens" by Jay McGraw (6)

6. "Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul III" compiled by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Kimberly Kirberger (28)

7. "Arthur's First Kiss" by Marc Brown (1)

8. "Biscuit's Valentine's Day" by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (1)

9. "The Powerpuff Girls Save Valentine's Day" by Laura Dower (1)

10. "The Night Before Valentine's Day" by Natasha Wing (1)

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, 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; or by mail to Reading by 9 Parent Tips, The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.