By: Craig Ferch, School Psychologist



Last month, in this newsletter, I put a multiple intelligences rating scale for parents to complete on themselves, to become a little more familiar with the eight ways of being smart.If you would like another copy of this, please call me at 526-2192 x145.Similar to this adult rating scale, all students here at Shawano Community Middle School will be completing the student version with me sometime during the school year, in one of their classes, in order to learn a little more about their own strengths and weaknesses.


Beginning this month, we will explore each of Howard Gardnerís eight intelligences one by one.In addition, staff at SCMS will be receiving handouts from me with information that they can use on that particular intelligence, to help them with their teaching of all students in their classes.This month, we will begin by discussing the Verbal-Linguistic intelligence.


In todayís culture, language ability ranks among the most highly regarded intelligences.Verbal-Linguistic intelligence, along with next monthís topic, Logical-Mathematical intelligence, are probably the two intelligences that are most utilized by our children in school.Traditional IQ tests also primarily assess these two areas.The highly linguistic person in society is viewed as being smart, socially adept, and competent.


The child strong in Verbal-Linguistic intelligence can think in words, and use language to express and understand complex meanings.He or she is in tune with the meaning of words, as well as the order among words, their sounds, rhythms, and inflections.This child likes to read, write, tell stories, use language when trying to convince someone else of their view point and listen to others who use language as a primary means of communication.As Thomas Armstrong - one of the leaders in multiple intelligence research Ė states, Verbal-Linguistic intelligence is the intelligence of the orator, the stand-up comedian, the radio talk show host, or the politician, who often use words to discuss and persuade.In everyday life, this intelligence comes in handy for talking and listening, reading to gather information, and writing anything from letters to e-mail messages.In school, students strong in this intelligence do well on oral and written reports, essay tests, group discussions, and school plays.


At home, here are some ideas for things children can do to further develop and enjoy their Verbal-Linguistic intelligence, whether it is one of their strength areas or not.


  • Join a reading club at school or at the local library.
  • Play word games such as Scrabble, crossword puzzles, or word searches.
  • Record yourself telling a story, and then send it to a relative far away.
  • Go to the local library at least once a month to get books to read just for fun (and read them daily)
  • Subscribe to a magazine of interest such as Sports Illustrated for Kids or American Girl
  • Become proficient at using a computer to do word processing such as typing a report for school.
  • Attend a book reading by a well-known author.
  • Keep a daily journal where you can write about your personal thoughts.
  • Make up jokes, riddles and puns and share them with your family and friends.
  • Create a personal dictionary of words you encounter when reading, that you arenít sure of their meanings (and then look up their definitions).
  • Read to younger siblings or have them read to you, and then discuss the story.
  • Listen to recorded books, especially those that include sound effects and multiple characters to make the story come alive.
  • Get involved in school plays or local theater groups.


Finally, parents can work with their childís teachers to ensure that these types of activities are also incorporated into their daily curriculum for all students, whether they are strong in Verbal-Linguistic intelligence or not.If your child is having difficulty in such abilities as oral speaking, reading, or writing, talk with their teachers about strategies that can be utilized to improve these skills.As mentioned above, these areas are some of the most important, in terms of school success, and if your child is struggling in any of them, it will likely lead to frustration and poor grades.


Next month: Logical-Mathematical Intelligence