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A Mind at a Time Hardcover – April 3, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (April 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743202228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743202220
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Recognizing each child's intellectual, emotional, and physical strengths--and teaching directly to these strengths--is key to sculpting "a mind at a time," according to Dr. Mel Levine. While this flashing yellow light will not surprise many skilled educators, limited resources often prevent them from shifting their instructional gears. But to teachers and parents whose children face daily humiliation at school, the author bellows, "Try harder!" A professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina Medical School, Levine eloquently substantiates his claim that developmental growth deserves the same monitoring as a child's physical growth.

Tales of creative, clumsy, impulsive, nerdy, intuitive, loud-mouthed, and painfully shy kids help Levine define eight specific mind systems (attention, memory, language, spatial ordering, sequential ordering, motor, higher thinking, and social thinking). Levine also incorporates scientific research to show readers how the eight neurodevelopmental systems evolve, interact, and contribute to a child's success in school. Detailed steps describe how mental processes (like problem solving) work for capable kids, and how they can be finessed to serve those who struggle. Clear, practical suggestions for fostering self-monitoring skills and building self-esteem add the most important elements to this essential--yet challenging--program for "raisin' brain." --Liane Thomas

From Publishers Weekly

Children have different ways of learning, argues Levine, a professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina Medical School and director of its Clinical Center for the Study of Development and Learning, so why do schools behave as though a one-size-fits-all education will work for everyone? Like Howard Gardner's Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983), Levine's book argues that our educational shortsightedness results in a loss of human potential on a grand scale, as kids who don't fit the mold are misclassified, stigmatized and then fail. If educators could assess differences more intelligently and redesign educational models to account for these differences, they would radically improve people's prospects for success in and out of school. Based on his work with children who have learning or behavioral problems, Levine has isolated eight areas of learning (the memory system, the language system, the spatial ordering system, the motor system, etc.). He provides chapters describing how each type of learning works and advises parents and teachers on how to help kids struggling in these areas. Levine emphasizes that all minds have some areas of giftedness and pleads for educators to "make a firm social and political commitment to neurodevelopmental pluralism." Such a plea may seem daunting, but Levine's compassionate, accessible text, framed around actual case studies, makes it seem do-able. This is a must-read for parents and educators who want to understand and improve the school lives of children.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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More About the Author

Mel Levine, M.D., is professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina Medical School and director of its Clinical Center for the Study of Development and Learning. He is the founder and cochairman of All Kinds of Minds, a nonprofit institute for the understanding of differences in learning, and the author of two previous national best-selling books, A Mind at a Time and The Myth of Laziness. He and his wife, Bambi, live on Sanctuary Farm in North Carolina.

Customer Reviews

I think it will help them to better understand, and help, their children.
Elizabeth Hendry
This book should be required reading for all teachers, parents, and any other profession which works with children.
A. Polly
Having now read both books, I am grateful to Mr. Levine and Mr. Remick, and grateful for the advice.
History Teacher And Jefferson Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

356 of 374 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D. Peters on March 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has a child in the school system knows that the educational process does not allow for one-on-one assessment of a child's learning abilities. A child either keeps pace or in many cases, falls behind. The author has written an excellent book on what a child needs in order to grow, learn, and develop his or her full potential.
It would be wonderful if all children learned at the same rate and possessed the same aptitude for learning; however, each child is a unique individual. The educational system today does not structure its learning process around that fundamental fact. A good many of the behavioural problems we see surfacing today stem from the fact a child becomes frustrated, bored, overwhelmingly challenged, or discouraged by the educational process, and their actions are often a result of what is lacking in the education system. Some parents, as well, do not take that fact into consideration and often expect Mary to keep up with brother John, because John seems to excel in everything, while Mary struggles to achieve.
There are a variety of topics to be found in the book, including development of memory, language, and motor skills. If you are an educator or have a child who is experiencing difficulties in this area, this book provides excellent resource material. It is one parents and individuals with the authority to make changes in the system should read and take to heart. The book contains a valuable message, is well researched, and is equally as well written.
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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful By P. Lozar on May 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Other reviewers have discussed the pros and cons of Dr. Levine's theories in depth, so I won't go into those; in the field of cognitive psychology, I'm an interested (and, I think, fairly well-read) amateur rather than a professional.
That said, I feel that this is an important book for both parents and educators. The child's "job" of learning how to function in the world, and mastering the many tasks set for him/her by the educational system, isn't an easy one. The human mind is complex and multifaceted, but our schools tend to think of "intelligence" as a narrowly defined set of skills, and anyone who doesn't do well in those must be either stupid or lazy. (Levine notes that the moral implications of such judgments, e.g., that a student "doesn't try hard enough" or is "unmotivated," can be devastating to a child, and are often grossly unfair.) The irony is that -- as Levine points out -- the abilities that enable a child to succeed in school aren't necessarily those that conduce to success in later life; so, by rewarding performance only in certain areas, we doom many children to a low opinion of their abilities and ignore a wide spectrum of human potential.
Although the subject isn't exactly lightweight, I found the book appealing and highly readable. Dr. Levine clearly has great respect and affection for his young subjects, so his anecdotes are engaging and (often) amusing. I was especially tickled when he urged a young client not to let his teachers "catch him doing something right" because from then on they'd hold it against him. In school, I was a "divergent thinker" to the max: if a subject interested me, I'd do a brilliant job, but if not I'd blow it off. So my occasional successes turned into threats: "See how well you can do if you just TRY hard enough.
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78 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Letha L Mark on June 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read this book with the idea that I would get some help in knowing how to help my son with some of the learning challenges he has faced. The book was very informative about how the brain works and different learning styles and challenges. However, there really were no exercises or concrete advice about how to work on the different problem areas. Only general advice was given, nothing specific to the individual problems. It made me feel as though the author wanted us to buy the book to know all the whys, but he didn't want to undermine the therapists' ability to make a living by giving us the 'hows'. It frustrated me because I already know where the problem areas are.... what I wanted to know was how to practice overcoming them. The book did not help me here.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By John Zxerce on May 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a book, which addresses a particular struggle I've dealt with during much of my own life. Being more of an imaginative and dynamic learner, I continually asked the question of `why' during school lessons. If I could not understand why the information was important I would resist learning it. Fortunately, this book address different styles of learning and how each type is particularly gifted.
-- The vignettes of children who struggle with different leering situations is particularly helpful in being able to grasp the challenge different learners have.
-- He challenges the increase in attention deficit disorder diagnosis. This is something I believe needs to be addressed and I'm glad to see that author contributing positively by criticizing this trend. Medication should never be prescribed to a child for simply displaying a different learning pattern.
-- Since different minds learn differently, it would have been helpful if the author included a section on how to cultivate a child's learning strengths. That is, what areas, activities, and interests typically most appeal to children with a certain learning tendency?
-- Of course the area of the book which allows parents to work around learning weaknesses is very helpful. Simply because a child is not strong in one area, does not mean that the child cannot grow in that area.
-- In the end, it comes down to a parent's willingness to spend the time necessary to really get to know a child's strengths and weakness. This requires energy, willingness and attention, but in the end results in a child with confidence and enthusiasm for learning.
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