Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Some Books on Brain Development

Following is a list of my favorite books on how people learn. (As always, I also recommend Charlotte Mason's insights found in the CM Series, but these others are good too.)

A caveat-- This post mainly addresses brain development, but people are more than matter. Children have souls which need to be fed, they have relationships with the Holy Spirit that we are not necessarily privy to, and "their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 18:10), so although I do not deal with it here, it is best to remember the spiritual aspect of development.

A Mind at a Time by Dr. Mel Levine (this is my hands-down go-to book when I am trying to figure out what might be going wrong)

Discover Your Child's Learning Style: Children Learn in Unique Ways (a set of questionnaires designed to determine a person's strengths and talents-- I like this as a jumping-off place, but find I need to temper learning style ideas with the idea that we are to continually grow and become more well-rounded)

Driven to Distraction/Delivered from Distraction by Dr. Edward M. Hallowell (two books on recognizing and dealing with AD/HD)

Sometimes we want to label certain behaviors as dysfunctions when they are really normal brain development for the age/stage of the child. Following are a couple of books on "ages and stages":

The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters by Michael Gurian (a chronology of brain development unique to girls-- he has another one called The Wonder of Boys, but I haven't read it)

Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain

And the following are two books that address neural plasticity and the idea that our brains really are formed by the influences we allow around us:

Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think and What We Can Do About It by Jane Healey (this is more a book about modern influences on the brain-- she has another book on Internet and more recent technology but I haven't read it and I really want to)

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman (a book on the dangers of television)

(Note: I'm sure someone has written a book about the detrimental effect on the brain of constant trivial-- and not so trivial-- snippets of information and rabbit trails, ie., Facebook, Twitter, etc., and if you know of a book on that subject, would you please leave the name and author in the comments? Thanks.)

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