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Have you read any of the latest studies on how kids learn and what makes a successful student? I think about this a lot because, well, I have kids, and who doesn't want their kids to succeed? All of the latest research shows that it's not what our kids learn but how they learn it that matters. The term "grit" has become a big time buzz word. We all want our kids to have grit - the ability to fail, fail again, and keep trying however long it takes until they get the right answer. Honestly, I am struggling to teach my older child, now a fourth grader, how to be gritty. He's lucky in that certain academic subjects come easily to him, and he manages to get "good" grades without a lot of effort. What this means is whenever he encounters something that is actually difficult, he tends to crumble and give up (and the older he gets, the harder school gets, the more this happens). So, what do I do?
I think for starters, I want him to read books about inventors. Inventors throughout time have been the ultimate possessors of grit. Most inventions took lifetimes to get right, and through each prototype, the inventor failed and didn't give up.
Here is a list of kids books about inventors for everyone that wants to work on their grit-factor.
Small Inventions That Make a Big Difference is such a fantastic book! It starts with a section on how actual inventors got started with practical tips like how to get a patent, and it ends with a look at seemingly small inventions that factor into our everyday lives. It's organized into an alphabet list from aluminum foil all the way to zippers.
11 Experiments That Failed has been featured on the blog before, and to me, it deserves the Grit Award of the Year! Okay, that doesn't exist, but it should. This book shows eleven curious kids from around the world who each had a hypothesis they wanted to prove. Each hypothesis was wrong, and each series of experiments failed miserably. That's the point! Repeat after me: Failure is good. Failure is good.
One summer, we were on vacation in Florida, and we got to tour the home of inventor Thomas Edison. It was so neat! His laboratory is set up with all of his equipment as if he had just stepped out of some coffee. Edison's inventions have stood the test of time, and Who Was Thomas Alva Edison? is a great little book for kids to learn about his life and work.
Rosie Revere, Engineer, along with the book before it Iggy Peck, Architect, is inspiring and funny, and you will find yourself reciting lines from it all day long!
Papa's Mechanical Fish is another great picture book that shows how inventing something new is hard work, and the finished product is something that comes after lots and lots of mistakes. I love the illustrations, too!
What To Do With An Idea? is the story of one child with an amazing idea. At first, the idea seems to big and daunting to make a reality, but little by little, the child starts to believe in himself until he makes his idea happen.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a fantastical story that both adults and kids can find entertaining, and the inventions that Hugo creats make the story original and unique.