Best Nonfiction Book: “Nurture Shock” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Best Nonfiction Book - Nurture Shock

Best Nonfiction Book: Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

In the growing tradition of recently published nonfiction, Nurture Shock is a treat for the educated, modern reader. It’s a collection of short, well-written, well-researched pieces–sort of the Reader’s Digest idea, but cooler.

Nurture Shock is a collection of pieces offering unexpected ideas about teaching children more effectively.

The advice:

  • Don’t praise kids for smarts, or they’ll be afraid of failure. Instead, praise them for effort and for other things that are under their control. This will motivate them to take on difficult challenges.
  • Teach kids that intelligence is a muscle and can be developed.
  • Kids who get even fifteen minutes more sleep do much better in school.
  • Talk about race. Kids are always looking at differences. If you don’t talk to them about the differences, they will draw their own conclusions. Kids want to belong so they exclude others unless told not to.
  • Deal with lies calmly. All kids lie.
  • Teach kids to see and interact with siblings as they would a friend—someone whose loyalty isn’t taken for granted.
  • Play-based learning is extremely important. Tools for the Mind classes incorporate: (1) Sustained play. Kids write out a play plan for imagination games. (2) Self-criticism, self-reflection. Kids are taught to pick out the best examples of their own work and the work of their peers. (3) Buddy reading.

To help child learn how to talk:

  • Words should accompany interaction, especially facial cues. This is why TV doesn’t help babies learn.
  • Follow baby’s lead. Say words for items he’s showing interest in already, when the motivation to learn it is already present.
  • For small babies, wiggle a toy or object to draw attention to it before naming it.
  • Incorporate common sentences with new words.
  • Say the same idea in several different ways.
  • Respond to almost all vocalization in some way, teaching the child they affect you by their sounds.
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