How Can Parents Nurture Gifted Children?
When we think of the Advanced Academic Program (AAP, formerly Gifted & Talented) in Fairfax County Public Schools, we think of the standardized screening tests: Custom CogAt for 2nd grade and NNAT for 1st grade! Our brains become restless! We start thinking of some ways we can prepare our children for these standardized tests. We Google search NNAT, Cogat, Blogs, and other things that will make us more stress and nervous.
I am not saying that test preparation is a bad idea. Look at what the research says:
“Poor test preparation and lack of test-wiseness results in test scores that do not accurately reflect the students’ knowledge and aptitude (Scruggs and Mastroprierri, 2000)”
In addition to high scores in these standardized tests, our children also need to display creativity and critical thinking skills in the classroom. Yes, ability test scores are some of the criteria in Level Four Central Selection Committee, along with report cards, Gifted Behaviors Rating Scale, Parent Guardian Questionnaire, Achievement Scores and Student Work Sample.
Ability test scores in NNAT and Custom CogAt count, but the Level 4 AAP Central Level Screening is more holistic process. Your child’s classroom teacher and AART (Advanced Academic Resource Teacher) are looking for higher level of critical thinking and creativity inside and outside of school.
- Is the child reading on grade level or above grade level?
- What types of genre does the child want to read?
- What are his/her areas of interests?
- What after school activities is the child involve in?
- Does the child speak another language at home?
- Can the child comprehend another language?
- Does the child have friends?
- What are some recess preferences?
- Is the child’s Math on grade level or above grade level?
- Are there any special home situations?
- Does the child have talent in art, music or PE?
- What specific projects, events, or situations in which child’s ability REALLY made an impression?
- In what ways did the child exhibit thinking creative and critical thinking?
- How often does the child exhibit thinking outside of the box?
The four areas of giftedness that are crucial are the:
- 1. Exceptional Ability to Learn
- 2. Exceptional Application of Knowledge
- 3. Exceptional Creative/Productive Thinking
- 4. Exceptional Motivation to Succeed
Knowing some of these criteria, what are some ways parents can nurture the giftedness in their children? I think there are gazillion ways that we can nurture them in each area and sub-areas! Each one will be a topic in my blog.
Bed-time interactive read aloud is one way where parents can read a portion of picture books that are at least one or two grades above their children’s reading level and model a creative and critical “Think Aloud”. Stop at some critical or turning points in the book and ask your children quick inferential questions like: “If you are ____ (book character) how would you respond? What made you think that? ” or “What can you say about the change of perspective of the author on ____ (book character) and why? If you want to focus on vocabulary, you might want to ask “What do you think the author meant when he said ______ or by the phrase _______.
When doing interactive read aloud, parents can always go back to the book and make some follow up questions on the following “reading time” session. You can enhance their writing (1st grade and older), ask them to draw (PreK to K), use digital media tools like iPhone apps, videography, websites, photography, painting, poetry, songs or any other digital tools to respond to the book read previously.
At the end of the story, you might want to take your child’s thinking to a different level and ask him to draw or write: “Which part of the story will you change, and why?” Another one would be changing some elements of the story like: “If you change the setting of the story, how would the story would look like?” You can also focus on changing the character, “If you can change one of the characters in the story, who would that be, and why?” or “Show me how the story would unfold if you change the personality of _____ (book character).
These are not exhaustive questions and strategies. If you want to learn how to do the Interactive Read Aloud and Think Aloud, please attend some free seminars and workshops for our parent and students. We also offer summer camp for Kindergarten to 2nd grade, entitled “Harness Your Potential” .
Free Workshops for Parents and Students:
- 1. What Parents of Grades 5-6 Need to Know About the TJHSST Admissions Process
- 2. What Matters Most in Gifted & Talented Screening (AAP in FCPS and FUTURA in LCPS)
- 3. Tips on College Admission Process
- 4. Crafting Your College Admission Essay: Grab Their Attention!
- 5. TJHSST Student-Authored Information Sheet (SIS) and Academy of Science (AOS) Essay Writing: Highlighting Your Personality and Uniqueness.
- 6. What Kind of STEM Extra Curricular Activities Do TJHSST and AOS Admissions Need to See
About the Author
Krishna Belino Cart, a National Board Certified Reading Specialist, is currently the Owner and the Curriculum Director of Young Scholars Circle. During her employment with LCPS and FCPS, and as a Reading Specialist and Literacy Coach, she collaborates with English and Language Arts classroom teachers to model and devise specific teaching strategies for struggling and gifted students. Having more than 22 years of teaching experience, she is regularly invited as a presenter in various local, national, and international conferences here and abroad.
Mrs. Cart’s two gifted sons served as her inspiration for teaching. Her two gifted and talented sons both qualified in FUTURA when they were in fourth grade in Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS). When they transferred to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), they both qualified in Level 4 Advanced Academic Programs (AAP). Both her sons, who are alumni of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) are now in college (Iowa State University and Stanford University).