Do you enjoy telling and hearing stories? Do you like to write? Are you sensitive to the musical qualities and rhythms of words? Do you enjoy saying, hearing or seeing words? If these questions describe you (or your child), it means that linguistic intelligence is one of the primary ways you learn and understand the world.

In short, linguistic intelligence is the capacity to use language to express what’s on your mind and to understand other people. Activities such as reading, writing, listening, or public speaking are traits of word-smart people. They are effective communicators who often enjoy growing their vocabulary and using language as their canvas of expression.

If this describes you or your child, you now have a deeper insight into how learning experiences can be enhanced. Understanding the ways people like to learn helps us shape activities to match individual strengths and interests. If you or your child are word-smart learners, here are a number of ways to capitalize on those skills:

Make up stories and tell them to someone else. This can be done by writing a story and reading it to another, or by going around in a group with each person adding a sentencing (written or aloud).

Keep a journal. If language is one of the primary ways you understand the world, keeping a daily journal is very helpful in processing, organizing and making sense of your emotions and experiences.

Have regular debates and discussions. This can be as simple as conversations at the dinner table, asking people’s opinions on different topics, or talking through current events.

Create a magazine or newsletter. A family, school or work magazine is a creative way to use your writing skills that can highlight recent evens, opinion pieces, interviews, creative writing, pictures with captions, cartoons and more.

Word of the day. Word-smart people enjoy learning new words and how to use them correctly, and often show interest in etymology (ie, the source or origin of words). Finding new words to put on the fridge and play with in conversation is a fun way to build vocabulary.

Write poetry. There are many different kinds of poetry to explore, including haiku or poems that rhyme. Rhyming in particular can be a great way to help word-smart learners remember new things.

Write book reviews and/or have book discussions. Word-smart learners love to read, and engaging in book discussions with others will animate stories in new ways. It also helps refine communication skills, critical thinking and analysis.

Play word games. Games like Scrabble, word searches, cross-word puzzles, Apples to Apples, Boggle and more are fun ways to engage the family and strengthen these skills. To play word games online, click here.

What kind of multiple intelligence profile do you and your kids have? To identify your strengths, take this free assessment from the Literacy Works website! To learn more about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, read this Overview for Parents.

*Parts of this post are taken from The Everything Parents Guide to Raising Mindful Children (Adams Media), a book I co-authored coming out in July 2013! Pre-order it here.


How else do you and your family engage your linguistic intelligence? Share your ideas here!

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