We all have beliefs about our own skills, talents, and potential. Sometimes our beliefs are fixed, meaning we don’t think we can change. But we can learn how to change our perspectives in a positive way that allows for adaptability, confidence and curiosity.
This is called a Growth Mindset, a term coined by educational researcher Dr. Carol Dweck. With a Growth Mindset, kids (and adults!) shift their thinking to see that perseverance, patience and courage can reap big rewards. Even if we struggle with something, we can learn and improve. The magic word for living with a Growth Mindset is “yet.” “I can’t do that YET, but I’m trying!”
A great way to encourage children to emphasize persistence, effort, and progress is to share books that embody a Growth Mindset.
Rosie’s an aspiring engineer who learns that the only true failure in life is giving up. Here are some ways Rosie Revere, Engineer can build an attitude of perseverance:
· Ask your child what sorts of problems they would like to solve. What machines or tools would help? Let them draw their designs.
· Assemble a tinkering station where your child can build their own contraptions. Discuss the big successes and the setbacks for each project.
· Dr. Dweck reminds us that “mistakes make my brain grow.” How does Rosie’s brain grow through her mistakes?
This Could Be You is a lyrical picture book that gives children the vocabulary to shift their thinking from a fixed place to a perspective of opportunity. No matter what the dream, belief in yourself will get you closer to your goal. Here are some ways to use This Could Be You to develop a Growth Mindset:
· As you read This Could Be You, ask your child to identify Growth Mindset phrases like “persist,” “explore,” and “always more to know.” Decorate a bulletin board, refrigerator, or wall with these phrases, so they’re visible every day. .
· Check out the This Could Be You resource guide on the Cardinal Rule Press website for coloring pages and interactive questions.
· Visit Cindy Williams Schrauben’s website for printable activities and prompts to complete with your child.
We have a fun bookmark for you to print and use when reading one of these titles. Click here for the free download!
This picture book beautifully shows the power of “yet.” We all have things we haven’t learned, it’s only a matter of not knowing yet. Use The Magical Yet to demonstrate how to bring a Growth Mindset twist to difficult stumbling blocks:
· With your child, come up with a list of things neither of you have done…yet. Maybe you’ve never gone skydiving or composed a symphony—add those to the list to show that nothing is impossible, it just hasn’t happened yet.
· Discuss the character traits needed in order to make the Magical Yet work.
· Ask your child what they are working hard on right now. Tell them what you’re working hard on, as well! Make that a regular topic during dinner or bedtime.
“Looks easy,” Jabari says as he watches other kids jump off the high dive. He’s passed his swim test and knows he’s ready to take his turn jumping, but it takes patience with himself to face his fears and take the leap. Use Jabari Jumps to show how courage pays off:
· Jabari tells his dad he’s not scared. How does Jabari actually feel? How does he want to feel about the high dive? Does he feel more than one thing at the same time?
· When we look at situations as opportunities, we can move through fear. Discuss situations that make you or your child nervous, and the opportunities for growth those scenarios might provide.
Lou’s never climbed a tree before. She’s not sure she can. But Lou’s friends help her embrace the challenge. Use The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do to inspire a Growth Mindset:
· A strong, simple Growth Mindset reminder is “I can do hard things!” Brainstorm some difficult but attainable tasks with your child.
· In The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do, Lou models resiliency. How would the story be different if Lou remained in her fixed mindset, instead of a Growth Mindset?
*Don’t forget you can get a free bookmark to track your reading progress here!
Christie Megill is an editorial intern at Cardinal Rule Press and she spends most of her spare time reading children’s books. She has previous experience as a writer, elementary school teacher, curriculum developer, and literacy specialist.