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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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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
5.0 out of 5 stars 'DA BOMB!! Nov. 12 2002
Format:Hardcover
Without (hopefully) sounding too breathy, I believe Levine will do for learning theory what Jung did for the study of the unconscious. This is big stuff, and while Levine may be somewhat of a learning theory disciple himself, he takes good work and adds his own enlightened and profound vision. Result? A focus on how EVERY child is not only unique, but completely capable and wired for intellectual success. We've just got to determine how to best enhance and encourage this process by being able to work from the child's unique blueprint. It's our job as teachers (and I mean all of us, not just the teaching professionals) to guide, nurture and foster the minds of young children - to try to understand and encourage them, not just practice the same old traditional (and often damaging)learning models. We are the smart, experienced adults, aren't we? We must be willing to at least entertain the idea that perhaps there are other ways of teaching and learning - that children's intelligence is as varied and valuable as the intelligence of adults.
Dr. Mel Levine, in addition to being well-educated and credentialed, is perhaps most importantly, a visionary. He possesses a humbleness and divine reverence for that sometimes unseen but always present potential. This potential exists not only in children, but all living things. It is a most inspiring work, and he, an inspiring, beautiful soul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explains a lot July 17 2002
Format:Hardcover
I can't really comment on this books usefulness for parents of school-aged kids, because my kids are still preschool or younger. I read the book hoping to have an idea of what to watch as my boys get older. What happened and what I wasn't expecting was that my school career would be explained in a sudden blast of enlightenment. Dr. Levine breaks down the child mind into functional bits, and explains how different systems can go wrong, and how that can effect virtually everything that child does. For a child with a deficit that falls into school-required activities (like a problem hearing phonemes) what is a relatively small breakdown of function (and we all have some) can translate into a devastating blow to their ability to handle school work and life. He covers a multitude of different systems and possibilities for their problems (including at least 9 different ways in which attention can fail), in the process covering several things that the schools don't recognize and sometimes breaking one accepted category (ADD) into many different possible deficits, each of which is handled differently.
What hit me like a bombshell was the chapter on sequencing. I was a top notch student who spent my entire career terrified that someone was going to hit me with something that I couldn't do, because every once in a while I'd hit something (timelines in history class, lists of states and their capitols and exports) that I just couldn't seem to do. Since I was an honor student, nobody ever thought (or would have cared) that I might have a problem. It certainly never occurred to me. The only possibilities I knew were that I was stupid or lazy, and I obviously wasn't stupid.
I won't go on with my whole student career, but suffice to say that if I could send my younger self back a copy of this book (well highlighted) I think my life would be very different. It would be well worth the time it takes to read this book to see if you can find such a chance to change a life now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A well written disappointment April 5 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book is so promising from the cover. It is filled with anecdotal information, which makes the reading more enjoyable. And the information is solid, well written and detailed. I was disappointed however, in the lack of information on how to tell which of these areas are problem areas, and what to do about it. Often, the author relates that after testing the evaluation team found... and then does not explain how a parent at home might go about doing this type of "evaluation". Then he talks about creating a plan to focus on the strengths of the child to overcome the weak points. Great plan, but again gives very little help in how a parent might go about doing it. Mostly this book is not about giving out usable information, but really about promoting his "Schools Attuned" program and one student success center in Raleigh, NC! This book describes in detail and with examples all the areas a child might have difficulty, but will give you little help in figuring out which are problem areas for your child, and what (if you manage to figure out the problem) to do about it. Wonderful information, what to do with it?
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Children as Learning Individuals
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... Read more
Published 20 months ago by John M. Ford
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 23 2003 by Emily Pannel, Educator
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