Young Gifted Children: Who? How do we know

Young Gifted Children:
How do we know?
What can they do when reading
and writing?
Denise Wood September 2011
She wears a colourful summery skirt
A thick dark purple coat.
Her house has a very dark blue roof
And a light yellow base
Her shutters are half closed half open
She likes to play with Crazy and Adventurous
But every time she goes to see them
She walks out the front door,
Then thinks she should have
Gone through the back door.
She really would like to eat hot food But she prefers cold food
. She loves to cook But normally eats out.
She would do things in the weekend Except it takes till Monday to
decide what. (Katrina, age 7)
Reflect (1)
Create a concept map – how might you
recognise a young gifted child?
Gifted children…
 Learn rapidly
 Remember details
 Have a wide vocabulary
 Create new ways of doing things
 Make connections
 Have an unusual sense of humour
 Enjoy learning
 Ask questions
Reflect again (2)
In pairs:
What would we notice about what a young
gifted child knows?
What would we notice about the way a gifted
child understands their world?
What would we notice about how a gifted child
uses their knowledge and skills?
Reflect again .. (4)
What would we notice about the way a gifted
child manipulates and/or works with
What would we notice about the way a gifted
child makes choices?
In what ways does a gifted child produce
knowledge rather than simply consume it?
Who are we looking for? Level 1
 These children show interest in many things before they
are even two years old - like colours, saying the numbers
in order, and playing simple puzzles.
 Most of them are good talkers by age three, and by
four, many print letters and numbers, recognize simple
signs, their name, and know most of alphabet.
 By the time they are six years old, many read beginner
books and type at the computer, and most read chapter
books by age seven.
 It is not unusual to find six to eight Level One children in
an average classroom, children who are nearly always a
few steps ahead of what the teacher is teaching the
whole class.
Who are we looking for? Level 2
 love looking at books and being read to, even turning
pages without ripping them, by 15 months. They
recognise labels and words in the environment.
 sit for what seems like hours as you read advanced level
books, especially fiction and fantasy, to them, but they
require a bit less of your time by age six, because most of
them read for pleasure and information on their own by
 can find only one or two others in their classroom who
are as advanced as they are, which starts to make it hard
to find good friends.
Who are we looking for? Level 3
 They know what adults are telling or asking them by six
months. You say a toy, pet, or another person, and they will
look for it.
 By the time they are barely 12 months old, they can get
family members to do what they want before they are
actually talking.
 By two years, many like 35+ piece puzzles, memorize
favourite books, and know the entire alphabet - in or out of
 By three years old, they talk constantly,. They love to print
letters and numbers, too, because they like to.
 They ask you to be taught to read before five years
 There are one or two Level Three children in every 100 in the
average school.
Who are we looking for? Level 4
 Level Four babies love books, someone to read them,
and pay attention very, very early.
 They have extensive, complex speaking while still in
their toddler years, and their vocabularies are huge!
 Most of them read easy readers before kindergarten,
and then read for information and pleasure soon
thereafter, with comprehension for youth and adult
level books while only in the early years of school.
 There are about one per 200 children in the average
Who are we looking for? Level 5
 They have favourite TV shows when barely
out of infancy, pick out letters and numbers
by before they can talk, and enjoy shape
sorters earlier than most children.
 They print letters, numbers, words, and their
names in their early toddler years, and often
use anything that is available to form these
shapes and figures.
 They show ability with 35+ piece puzzles,
often before they actually speak and interest
in complex mazes while still only toddlers.
 Musical, dramatic, and artistic aptitudes usually
start showing by 18 months.
 Most speak with adult-level complexity shortly after
they speak at all!
 They can play card and board games ages 12 and up
when they are still in preschool.
 They have high interest in pure facts, almanacs, and
dictionaries by age 3½.
 They read six or more years beyond grade level with
comprehension by six years and usually hit 12th
grade level by age 7 or 8.
 Take each level.
1. Think about the features of the literacy
learning environment that will need to be
adjusted to provide students at the levels
with challenging work.
2. Think about the type of teaching needed
to best engage these students.
Key Points
 In the early years of school, young gifted
children need ……
Young Gifted Children and Literature
Literary Texts.
 Provide complex stories and themes
 Good literature provides layered meanings; complex
vocabulary; interesting word patterns; strong
 Picture books – ones that build stories; challenge
thinking; present dilemmas; engage
 Poetry – vocabulary, descriptive language, patterns,
Young Gifted Children and Literature
Factual texts
Visual text + word text
Core information
Well presented – organised, categorised, connected
Authentic texts
Young Gifted Children and Literature
In the classroom:
 Themes – provide a range of levels of book about
themes, form easy to challenging
 Non-fiction texts - books about the universe;
dinosaurs, space, transport, ancient civilisations,
other places
 Biographies – stories about other people’s lives
 Dictionaries, glossaries, core information books
 Use dramatisation, discussion, debate, visual
representation to show comprehension
Gifted Young Children and Writing
Indicators: (before writing)
 Detailed and expressive stories
 Relate events or incidents with interesting
observations and language
 Elaborate on situations
 Use vocabulary that is different and appropriate
 Desire to write things down – a need to record their
stories in some form of written text
Gifted Young Children and Writing
 Make captions for pictures or scribe long detailed
stories about their pictures
 Fascinated with words, letters, sounds – attempt to
write difficult words with phonetic structures
 Experiment with words and sentence patterns
 Use formats – presenting text in different ways;
inventing ways of organising information, labelling
and linking pieces of text.
Gifted Children and Writing
And when writing …
 Fussy about the words they want to use – know
which words are he correct ones for their sentence
 Play with words – rhyming, alliteration, nonsense
words to fit their text
 Interested in different words: make up their own
compound words, collective nouns, similes and
 Sometimes perfectionist – won’t write until they can
get the right word (and get it right)
Gifted Children and Writing
 Like to play with traditional stories – eg retelling fairy
tales with added characters, different views, change
of setting
 Are able to evoke emotion in he reader – connect to
the reader with their writing.
 Use pictures, fancy text, (eg large capitals to begin
chapter) in original or appropriate ways to enhance
the text
Gifted Children and Writing
 Write long texts – but not waffle – intuitively
structure stories
 Play with text format – add interesting detail, write
for effect
 Aware of the audience for writing
 Combine different forms of text
Maker’s Model of Differentiation
Visitors, places, artifacts
Authentic products
Authentic feedback
Real life purposes
Right text for need
Fact and fiction
Writing about real issues
Research and detail
Devices and skills
Starting points
Editing and proof reading
Free writing (no text limits)
Scribing if needed to get
Differentiating Literature
 Discuss each of the areas of the model.
 How will you think about each area in your planning
for writing?
 How will you think about them when planning and
providing literature/reading material for gifted young
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