Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday 56: How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

 Welcome to this week's Friday 56 - this Friday 56 comes from How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56 or 56% on your e-reader/
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions 
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
Post a link along with your post back to this blog and to Freda's Voice at
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

He did away with the Advanced Placement classes soon after he arrived at Riverdale; he encourages his teachers to limit the homework they assign; and he says that the standardized tests that Riverdale and other private schools require for admission to kindergarten and middle school are "a patently unfair system" because they evaluate students almost entirely by IQ.  "This push on tests," he told me when I visited his office one fall day, "is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human."

The blurb:
Why do some childdren succeed while others fail?

The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs.

But in How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories - and the stories of the children that they're trying to help - Tough traces the links between childhood stress and life success. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do and do not prepare their children for adulthood.  And he provides us with new insights into how to improve the lives of children growing up in poverty.

Early adversity, scientists have come to understand, not only affects the conditions of children's lives, it can also alter the physical development of their brains.  But innovative thinkers around the country are now using this knowledge to help children overcome the constraints of poverty.  With the right support, as Tough's extraordinary reporting makes clear, children who grew up in the most painful circumstances can go on to achieve amazing things.

This provocative and profoundly hopeful book has the potential to change how we raise our children, how we run our schools, and how we construct our social safety net. It will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.

About the Authors:
Paul Tough is the author of Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change articles about character and childhood in the New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker.  He is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and to the public radio program This American Life.  For more information, visit  You can also find him on twitter as @PaulTough