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A Mind at a Time [Paperback]

M.D. Mel Levine M.D.
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 9 2003
"Different minds learn differently," writes Dr. Mel Levine, one of the best-known learning experts and pediatricians in America today. Some students are strong in certain areas and some are strong in others, but no one is equally capable in all. Yet most schools still cling to a one-size-fits-all education philosophy. As a result, many children struggle because their learning patterns don't fit the way they are being taught.
In his #1 New York Times bestseller A Mind at a Time, Dr. Levine shows parents and those who care for children how to identify these individual learning patterns, explaining how they can strengthen a child's abilities and either bypass or help overcome the child's weaknesses, producing positive results instead of repeated frustration and failure.
Consistent progress can result when we understand that not every child can do equally well in every type of learning and begin to pay more attention to individual learning patterns -- and individual minds -- so that we can maximize children's success and gratification in life. In A Mind at a Time Dr. Levine shows us how.

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From Amazon

Recognizing each child's intellectual, emotional, and physical strengths--and teaching directly to these strengths--is key to sculpting "a mind at a time," according to Dr. Mel Levine. While this flashing yellow light will not surprise many skilled educators, limited resources often prevent them from shifting their instructional gears. But to teachers and parents whose children face daily humiliation at school, the author bellows, "Try harder!" A professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina Medical School, Levine eloquently substantiates his claim that developmental growth deserves the same monitoring as a child's physical growth.

Tales of creative, clumsy, impulsive, nerdy, intuitive, loud-mouthed, and painfully shy kids help Levine define eight specific mind systems (attention, memory, language, spatial ordering, sequential ordering, motor, higher thinking, and social thinking). Levine also incorporates scientific research to show readers how the eight neurodevelopmental systems evolve, interact, and contribute to a child's success in school. Detailed steps describe how mental processes (like problem solving) work for capable kids, and how they can be finessed to serve those who struggle. Clear, practical suggestions for fostering self-monitoring skills and building self-esteem add the most important elements to this essential--yet challenging--program for "raisin' brain." --Liane Thomas --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Children have different ways of learning, argues Levine, a professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina Medical School and director of its Clinical Center for the Study of Development and Learning, so why do schools behave as though a one-size-fits-all education will work for everyone? Like Howard Gardner's Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983), Levine's book argues that our educational shortsightedness results in a loss of human potential on a grand scale, as kids who don't fit the mold are misclassified, stigmatized and then fail. If educators could assess differences more intelligently and redesign educational models to account for these differences, they would radically improve people's prospects for success in and out of school. Based on his work with children who have learning or behavioral problems, Levine has isolated eight areas of learning (the memory system, the language system, the spatial ordering system, the motor system, etc.). He provides chapters describing how each type of learning works and advises parents and teachers on how to help kids struggling in these areas. Levine emphasizes that all minds have some areas of giftedness and pleads for educators to "make a firm social and political commitment to neurodevelopmental pluralism." Such a plea may seem daunting, but Levine's compassionate, accessible text, framed around actual case studies, makes it seem do-able. This is a must-read for parents and educators who want to understand and improve the school lives of children.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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PLANET earth is inhabited by all kinds of people who have all kinds of minds. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I didn't get what I wanted out of this book because I am not the intended audience--My daughter is only four years old and is ahead of the curve in every subject I test her on. Dr. Levine writes for an audience whose children are mostly in high school even though he will review their histories all the way back to pre-school in many of his case histories. That being said, I found this book rich with real-life case studies of children with learning difficulties. He has examples from the boys and girls that he has personally worked with to illustrate several points that he makes. I find those specific case studies to be the best part of his book. They support some of his theories and assertions. His arguments become weaker when he refers to other people's research--like when he said that research has shown that high school children can learn a second language better than pre-school children and therefore he recommends that children with verbal deficiencies should postpone studying a second language until the 11th grade. This skirts over the differences between pre-school language learning vs. high school language learning and ignores that there is a different kind of language learning going on at age 4 and at age 16. At age four you can't memorize as much information or learn as quickly as can a 16 year old, but the four year old can easily learn native syntax and pronunciation which the 16 year old may never learn. Anyway, this book offers a lot to parents and teachers of high school children who have learning difficulties but perhaps is less relevant for those outside of that audience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Information, but no practical help June 5 2002
Format:Hardcover
I read this book with the idea that I would get some help in knowing how to help my son with some of the learning challenges he has faced. The book was very informative about how the brain works and different learning styles and challenges. However, there really were no exercises or concrete advice about how to work on the different problem areas. Only general advice was given, nothing specific to the individual problems. It made me feel as though the author wanted us to buy the book to know all the whys, but he didn't want to undermine the therapists' ability to make a living by giving us the 'hows'. It frustrated me because I already know where the problem areas are.... what I wanted to know was how to practice overcoming them. The book did not help me here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mind At A Time, by Mel Levine April 5 2002
Format:Hardcover
This book was up-to-date when written, but schools have done much on their own, beyond mandates, in the past almost 2 decades to improve classrooms for all students. Having worked in schools the past 35+ years, I was there when teachers became aware of Levine and other writer's accurate discriptions of real problems. They sought and applied innovative methods to improve things for students with physical, emotional, and learning deficits. Any parent can speak with their child's teacher, or become a volunteer helper to see dramatic changes in place for the children in elementary through middle schools. I cannot speak to high schools, but assume this is true there, since it also is evident in community and state college campuses. Times have changed our schools!
This author gives a good picture of what was. It provides a good background for readers to see how new, complex, and difficult problems surfaced,and were tenaciously worked on within a rapidly growing population, which dramatically changed in composition in both culture + birth language. The San Jose, CA, school district alone there were over 100 languages spoken in the mid 1980's. All caring parents owe it to their child(ren) to be informed~to see for themselves that classrooms are no longer how they remember them...and how this author portrays them.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Children as Learning Individuals Feb. 20 2013
By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Mel Levine puts understanding before action. His goal is to show us the building blocks of children's minds and how learning can be challenging when one or two bricks are out of place. The approach we take to teach each child depends on which bricks these are. We can use this understanding to help children as they are, rather than focusing on a single, idealized model of the learning child.

Early in the book, the author describes eight learning systems we use to deal with the world around us. Each system behaves differently, operates somewhat independently, and has a different neurological basis in the brain. In successive chapters, we review learning systems for attention control, memory, language, spatial ordering, sequential ordering, motor control, higher thinking, and social reasoning. We learn how each system works, cooperates with other systems, and how it typically develops as children mature. The author also highlights common developmental problems and how both children and the adults around them can meet these challenges. Each chapter closes with a "Practical Considerations" section that describes how the learning system affects a child's behavior in everyday situations.

The book's last four chapters explore the broader implications of these eight learning systems. We learn how to recognize specific learning difficulties and bring the right resources--special services, coaching, medication, etc.--to bear based on an individual child's learning profile. Levine also advises parents how to understand their child's profile and balance remediation of weaknesses with encouragement of talents, interests and strengths. He closes with suggestions about the proper role of teachers and schools given the "neurodevelopmental diversity" of their student population.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally an optimistic approach to learning difficulties
Mel Levine is one of the major players in the field of Special Education. It is refreshing to see suggestions and strategies on how to deal with learning difficulties, rather than... Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2010 by Joanna
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Diagnostic Manual
This book goes into great detail describing all of the potential problems a mind can have and what difficulties these problems will cause in a person's academic life. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars Really, really interesting, but leaves out the importance of
I really liked "A Mind at a Time." It is so nice to read a book that recognizes the importance of different learning styles. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Highly overrated
Mel gave a presentation at our school a number of years ago. He was am impassioned, motivational speaker. Read more
Published on July 10 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mind at a Time
This should be mandatory reading for everybody in the field of education and all parents of newly diagnosed chidlren with ADHD. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2004 by "realclark"
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally...a common sense approach to education.
Dr. Levine's landmark book does more than "celebrate differences," it offers a fresh, clear-eyed, common sense view of how this country needs to educate her children. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2003 by Rocco B. Rubino
5.0 out of 5 stars Celebrating Differences!
As a therapist working with adolescents in a psychiatric assessment and treatment center, and as a Fetal Alcohol Consultant in private practice working with families whose children... Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2003 by Connie L. Sirnio
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning by exposure
Learning is a complex process but Mel Levine makes it easy. Read this book along with the Essential 55.
Published on Aug. 4 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Why Aren't Our Students Learning?
Dr. Mel Levine believes the answer to this questions lies within neurodevelopmental dysfunctions, which are the basic instruments of learning and compose the wiring of our brains. Read more
Published on July 24 2003 by Emily Pannel, Educator
5.0 out of 5 stars The Keys to a Child's Academic Success
Mel Levine stresses the importance of parents and teachers taking the time to identify each child's strengths and learning style --and he clearly explains how to do exactly that. Read more
Published on June 14 2003
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