How are most of us taught? We are taught by rote. We memorize lists of things. As a little kid, we are taught to read by memorizing A is for Apple and B is for Ball. There is value in memorization; however, there is greater value in thinking. Learning to think especially learning to think critically has far greater value than mere memorization. The focus on memorization in our education system, fueled by standardized testing, has obstructed learning, according to Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University, who argues that students lose most of the information they acquire in school. We forget what we memorize. We don’t learn when we memorize. It has no value to you. When you actually learn a fact, it is bound to other facts by a logic. One way to learn is to think. When we engage our brain in figuring out the answer, we learn. We draw upon what we know and add to it.
I am passionate about teaching kids to think. I want my kids to decide what is the good moral choice by thinking not just by accepting what others say. I want my kids to think and learn not just memorize facts which often will be forgotten.
In the book My Buddy Knows… Letters by Keith Wheeler, kids are presented a way to think and learn letters not just memorize. They are not presented “A is for Apple” and then asked to repeat it over and over until it is memorized. They are presented with a picture of an Apple and need to think what letter does the word Apple begin with. This way makes them think every time. Reading this book will help a child learn. By using a flashcard-like approach, the learning experience becomes more interactive. The child doesn’t immediately SEE that Apple starts with an A. They see the apple, then must THINK and DECIDE what letter it starts with. The child must draw from information already in their brain. Once they decide, then they flip the page to see if they’re correct.
I recommend reading this book with your child. A caregiver can help the child to figure out the answer at first and help them not to get frustrated. Certainly, you can still read books that say “A is for Apple.” However, if you add books like this to their reading, they will learn and not just memorize. You will give your children critical thinking skills that will greatly enhance their future learning. You will give them a great advantage.
International #1 Best Selling author, Keith Wheeler is a Missouri based business man and father of 4. He’s been married to his high school sweetheart since 1997. The first project of Keith’s that was published was in 1991, while he was still in high school, and was a poem. Both he and his grandmother were published in that same book. He enjoys writing and creating books aimed towards children. His goal is to entertain and educate.