What Works and Why
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Straightforward advice on how to help children overcome adversity at home and in school.

In this sequel to How Children Succeed (2012), Tough moves beyond the question of why children from affluent families fare better than those who grow up in poverty. The author discusses the ways in which parents, teachers, and other adults can help children succeed despite their backgrounds. Poor health, neglect, abuse, and deficiencies in early cognitive stimulation are just a few of the reasons why children fail to thrive. Backed by his intensive research, Tough outlines many simple and effective methods currently in use at day care centers, preschools, and schools that counteract the effects of an environment that is unstable, chaotic, and unpredictable. Beginning with infancy, children need positive face-to-face time with their parents. Strong bonding between parents and child before age 1 enables the child to learn that his or her environment is safe. Once a stable home life is established, children can then enter the school system, where they need to encounter teachers who have positive attitudes, work toward establishing strong relationships, and truly enjoy teaching in a creative manner. "In the same way that responsive parenting in early childhood creates a kind of mental space where a child’s first tentative steps toward intellectual learning can take place,” writes the author, “so do the right kind of messages from teachers in school create a mental space that allows a student to engage in more advanced and demanding academic learning." By helping children be engaged in learning that, even when challenging, is meaningful, informative, and fun, children drop their fight-or-flight stress responses and perform better on all levels: academically, socially, and emotionally. Tough's research demonstrates that all children have the capacity for self-control, grit, and success if given the right tools to work with from birth.

Informative and effective methods to help children overcome issues and thrive at home and in school.

Pub Date: May 24th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-544-93528-0
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2016


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