How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, (reprint edition 2013). Paul Tough, Mariner Books, New York, NY.
Have you wondered why some of your students seem to have an inner drive and just won’t give up while others can’t seem to stay on course? The CRLA 2014 One Book-One Conference selection, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, by Paul Tough, will give you some insights and, perhaps more importantly, a different way to think about the qualities that influence academic success.
The book is a mix of information from scientific studies and personal stories, all of which help the reader understand the various components that combine for academic success. The author contends that intelligence, as measured by the SAT and ACT, is not the main ingredient needed for success. Rather he emphasizes the importance of non-cognitive skills such as “study skills, work habits, time management, help-seeking behavior, and social/academic problem-solving skills.” (Page 161) This idea supports his contention that, for many students enrolled in higher education, the problem is not access, but completion.
Parts of the book focus on younger children, but these children become the college freshmen we work with and their experiences influence their college success. Readers will gain insights into their students and an appreciation of the obstacles they may have overcome and continue to struggle with.
How Children Succeed is an important book for all levels of education. Join me at the CRLA 2014 conference in St. Paul to talk about the insights and challenges presented in the book and what we can do to help our students develop all of the necessary ingredients to have successful academic and future careers.
Arden B. Hamer