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A Mind at a Time
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Recognizing each child's intellectual, emotional, and physical strengths--and teaching directly to these strengths--is key to sculpting "a mind at a time," according to Dr. Mel Levine. While this flashing yellow light will not surprise many skilled educators, limited resources often prevent them from shifting their instructional gears. But to teachers and parents whose children face daily humiliation at school, the author bellows, "Try harder!" A professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina Medical School, Levine eloquently substantiates his claim that developmental growth deserves the same monitoring as a child's physical growth.

Tales of creative, clumsy, impulsive, nerdy, intuitive, loud-mouthed, and painfully shy kids help Levine define eight specific mind systems (attention, memory, language, spatial ordering, sequential ordering, motor, higher thinking, and social thinking). Levine also incorporates scientific research to show readers how the eight neurodevelopmental systems evolve, interact, and contribute to a child's success in school. Detailed steps describe how mental processes (like problem solving) work for capable kids, and how they can be finessed to serve those who struggle. Clear, practical suggestions for fostering self-monitoring skills and building self-esteem add the most important elements to this essential--yet challenging--program for "raisin' brain." --Liane Thomas

"Different minds learn differently," writes Dr. Mel Levine. Frustrating a child's desire to learn will have lifelong repercussions. Not every child can do equally well in every type of learning. It's time we begin paying more attention to individual learning styles, encouraging a child's strengths, leading to greater satisfaction and achievement.

Customer Reviews:

  • A Mind at a Time
    This should be mandatory reading for everybody in the field of education and all parents of newly diagnosed chidlren with ADHD.
    Includes very profound statement to the effect of "We expect our children to master Reading Writing and Math & etc. but we do not expect the samething from adult. Think about that statement....more info
  • Instruction manual
    Thank you Dr. Levine for this instruction manual about the mind!!! I have read this book several times already and learn something new each time I read it. I continue to use it as a reference for when I am stumped about either my own behavior or a child's behavior. ...more info
  • Good reading to understand how a mind works
    The book illustrates how the mind of a child works and learns. It is clear and well written and can be also entertaining. It applies to children with or without learning disabilities. The main thesis is that for better or worse, everybody is afflicted by a learning disability, even if that can be minor and didn't give rise to any problem at school. Defects can be unnoticeable and go undetected. Sometimes those problems lies in unexpected places. We can develop, consciously or unconsciously, strategies to come around those little difficulties. However, the book does not provide practical guidance to detect those difficulties or to cope with them. It provides an useful background but not a roadmap. Sometime the author comes up with commonsensical advise. However, it is a very good starting point. ...more info
  • Informative - should be read by all parents and teachers!
    This book clearly defines how different minds learn and process the vast amounts of information encountered on a daily basis in school and in everyday life. The author is clearly at the top of his field and can very easily communicate his findings in a way that is easy to comprehend, extremely informative and interesting to read. ...more info
  • Brilliantly Simple
    Dr. Levine teaches that it is more helpful to understand HOW a child behaves and not WHY a child behaves in the way he does. What a brililantly simple idea - a paradigm shift. If you think in this way, then you can go to work immediately on finding the solutions that fit your child. After reading "A Mind at a Time", I saw my son's behavior in terms of HOW and was able to start to address it. (For years my wife and I had been discouraged and tried absolutely everything with little effect.)

    Recently I came upon "Behavior Coaching" by Dr. Scott Hall who seems to be of the same school of thought with Dr. Levine. "Behavior Coaching" takes the theory of "A Mind at a Time" and directly employs it in a step-by-step action plan for improving your child's behavior. Great companions, "A Mind at a Time" and "Behavior Coaching", get them both to help you hone your parenting skills. ...more info
    A groundbreaking and momentous work! Dr.Levine comes as a messiah for children.The reader will find himself vastly more informed, tolerant, sensitive and caring towards children. This book gives us deep insights and awareness of the process of a developing mind, a childs mind. How it learns; where, why, and when it falters.It suggests remedies and ways and means to maximise and sustain the minds potential for growth.'A mind at a time' endows us with hitherto unknown skills and processes required to handle each mind individually, to enable it to bloom fully.

    A lack of will only can allow our politicians and leaders to remain impassive to the need for reviewal and revamp of our present education system, after they read and understand the powerful messages of this book.

    Next time you have the occassion to give a gift, don't give a gift cheque, an envelope full of banknotes, a bouquet, or a household appliance----GIFT THIS BOOK!!! You will be doing a favour , and giving a gift to humanity!!!

    A must for all adults!!!Happy reading!!!...more info

  • Learning by exposure
    Learning is a complex process but Mel Levine makes it easy. Read this book along with the Essential 55....more info
  • I love this book!
    I am a school psychologist intern. I bought this book to help me better understand the cognitive influences of learning problems. This book is great! It's easy to read and understand and not dry like many of the text books I've read. I would recommend this book to parents, school psychologists and teachers alike. This is one of the most useful books I've bought, by far. ...more info
  • Highly overrated
    Mel gave a presentation at our school a number of years ago. He was am impassioned, motivational speaker. Last year this book was required reading for all the teachers at the school where I am employed. Most of us did not read very much of it because we were put off by the book. In fact, there is a running joke among the teachers that Mel really thinks "there are no lazy students". Other reviewers have mentioned the lack of literature research. Personally, I think that Howard Gardner's work on learning styles is far more useful that Levine's....more info
  • Great! It'll change your perspective!
    In this book you realize that there is really no such thing as dumb, that all brains work differently. It helps focus on the REAL issues of learning, instead of lumping your understanding into ADHD or some other category. You should read it!...more info
  • Celebrating Differences!
    As a therapist working with adolescents in a psychiatric assessment and treatment center, and as a Fetal Alcohol Consultant in private practice working with families whose children have brain differences, I found this book to be a significant resource in offering another form of "help and hope" to families.

    I believe a key to working with children whose brains work differently is to understand that very thing. These children, and all children for that matter, have ways of learning and applying what they've learned that are specific to them only.

    Dr. Mel Levine has shared his knowledge in the book, A Mind At A Time, which describes the "tool box" that children use in their learning. There are 8 neurodevelopmental systems that function as tools, and children may have strengths in particular systems. These include: Attention Control System, Memory System, Language System, Spatial Ordering System, Sequential Ordering System, Motor System, Higher Thinking System, and Social Thinking System. The trick is to know which system works best for these children!

    This book was brought to my attention by a concerned and desperate parent who discovered it on his quest to help his son...a son struggling to survive in a traditional academic setting with an untraditional style of learning...who was sinking into the trap of being labeled "bad" and a "behavioral problem." This loving father is now working to put Levine's recommendations into action in order to help his son succeed.

    Adult understanding, environmental modifications, and developing foundations that build on strengths are keys to working with these special needs children. Dr. Levine's book is a great resource for parents and teachers as they put these keys into place.

    Connie Sirnio, MSW info

  • The Best Book on the Market for Your Struggling Learner
    Dr. Levine's book, A Mind at a Time, is so comprehensive that it is challenging to pare it down to a few essential ideas. He begins by telling the reader why he is "a pediatrician with a mission". He endeavors to accurately describe the struggles of unsuccessful children, to explain the brain's working and dysfunctions which we all experience and see in others, and to provide a "road map" for parents and teachers to knowledgeably observe their children's cognitive development. This observation by a trained eye allows for early detection of breakdowns in learning as well as necessary identification of a child's cognitive strengths, overall assets, and consuming passions. Interestingly, research into problematic learning is also a study of all learning, and how the brain is supposed to function. Only when we are equipped with accurate information regarding a child's diverse kind of mind can we begin to explain why they are struggling and how they can best conquer or compensate for these challenges. It is vital that this knowledge be openly shared with young developing minds so that they know from the start that they are not what they feared, but rather free to grow stronger given the knowledge and help they need to succeed.

    Dr. Levine's text covers an overview of the ways of learning, and how lifestyle choices can help or hurt an individual's learning styles. He then goes on to detail the eight neurodevelopmental systems, chapter by chapter: the Attention Control System, the Memory System, the Language System, the Spatial Ordering System, the Sequential Ordering System, the Motor System, the Higher Thinking System, and the Social Thinking System. These systems develop at diverse paces, but must be utilized to grow strong and to stay strong. Although complex and detailed, this book is written in terms a layperson can understand with some thoughtful reading and perhaps a little rereading.

    Chapter 10 is devoted to helping the educator or parent pinpoint the areas of breakdown based on evidence from past productivity, behaviors, and learning difficulties. Dr. Levine has divided these areas of breakdown into particular profiles based upon recurring patterns that occur with particular types of brain wiring. He explains each profile, giving case studies to better illustrate what may be typical of each profile. He also details different emotional mindsets that can interfere with a child's achieving his or her potential, and provides strategies to overcome those negative behaviors. Finally, he addresses the benefits and possible detriment of testing, and the outcomes in adulthood.

    Dr. Levine adds several additional chapters to provide even more tools for working with different kinds of minds. He discusses the management of a profile, which is broken down into stages: demystification, accommodations, interventions at the breakdown points, strengthening strengths and affinities, protection from humiliation, and using professional therapies. He devotes a whole chapter to provide parents with best methods for nurturing these children at home. He also devotes a chapter to the teacher's role and what types of policies are practiced in "a humane school".

    I especially appreciate Dr. Levine's kind heart, which is evident throughout this book. He encourages parents and educators who know a child with a brain that is not meeting necessary demands not to give up on that child, and don't allow them to give up on themselves either. He reminds us that our minds are not stagnant, but come into their own with time. School is the hardest thing that many of these kids are ever going to have to face, because it focuses so intensely on particular skills, such as math and language, while devaluing other important skills, such as interpersonal abilities and creativity. He also reminds us that report cards are notoriously poor predictors of a child's potential. Throughout the numerous case studies, Dr. Levine is an encourager, an empowering force, the voice of hope and predictor of success. His position, experience, and knowledge of current research lend weight to his optimistic determination. Later, at the end of each chapter detailing the neurodevelopmental systems, Dr. Levine lists strategies, a tool box of helpful, practical information to help students, their teachers, and their parents in ways that are immediate and useful. He considers these children to be heroes and heroines, distinctively different in their learning styles, but valiantly courageous in their ability to cope, their resilience, and their will to overcome.

    Dr. Levine has covered his topic completely, with every avenue of possibility addressed appropriately and in the most humble, helpful manner. I have worked with a developmental pediatrician who trained under Dr. Levine, and I can say without any hesitation, if I was younger, I would jump at the chance to train under Dr. Levine myself....more info
  • Rambling; lacking citations; some good ideas nevertheless
    Let me be clear that I'm reviewing the book, not the doctor. I ordered this book because I'd heard Dr. Levine speak on television. He's affable and convincing. He makes a powerful case for the need to respect different learning styles and incorporate every adult involved in a child's education in developing a tailor-made plan. The problem is that the case he makes is less powerful here in print, where he never drops a citation or gives credit or offers anything but anecdote to bolster his claims. That could be fine, but it wasn't the scholarly discourse I was hoping for. And he sometimes runs long in the speaking. Dr. Levine may be a whizbang at communicating with kids and extremely sensitive to the needs of an individual, but it seems he's a little less astute at judging the attention of a remote audience--or this one, anyway. I found it brutally hard to finish this book. Now that I have, I plan to use it the way I believe that it should have been written: piecemeal, as I find I have need. This is a manual, not a story, and I believe it would have benefited from a more streamlined presentation. ...more info
  • I Loved this book!
    I absolutely loved this book. I was impressed with his observation that there is no such thing as a perfect mind. He points out that everyone has trouble with SOME aspect of learning and uses himself as an example at times. He discusses the importance of discovering and nurturing strengths in the management and improvement of specific weaknesses. I have never seen such a positive presentation of learning differences. I recommend this book for ALL educators of school children- parents, teachers, therapists, etc. Instead of dreading the beginning of the school year, I was actually looking forward to it....more info
  • Broadens Education Science
    In a culture which now realizes homeschooling facilitates flexibility, and not all private schools are, by default, better than public schools, and, essentially, kids aren't educated the same, "A Mind at a Time" shows us that educators and parents need to explore what works.

    As a student who suffered throuygh failure after failure in elementary school, I applaud the recognition Mel Levine's book is getting. I wish my teachers had the insight Levine presents. And, as I live in an area where homeschooled kids are getting the top grades as they enter a top private college in my town, I must say that there is more than one way to teach a kid.

    Levine is both making a social commentary and a directive for schools and parents. He takes the schools to task for not being willing to bend, but acknowledges the political and social challenges institutional change involves.

    Most of all, Levine outlines a model that can forever improve our public thinking on education.

    I fully recommend "A Mind at a Time" by Mel Levine.

    Anthony Trendl...more info

  • Thank you Dr. Levine
    I loved this book because I believe that every child is unique and I appreciate being reminded about the complexity of the brain and why it should be expected that we all have little quirks. Educators can sadly have blinders to differences in learning style. Mel Levine's work reminds me of Howard Gardner's in many ways. I sense that he truly cares about kids and I like that he supports what is best practice in education. Levine says he can learn more about a child by getting to know that child than by reading a list of test scores........let's hear it for that! Levine says, "sometimes you fix a weakness by pursuing strengths." I support that positive approach. To enhance my teaching I found many great quotes perfect for Back to School night and parents who have borrowed his book have enjoyed it immensely....more info
  • A page at a time
    I bought this book because I saw Dr. Mel Levine speak at a conference recently. He is an excellent speaker with really intriguing theories; many of which he details in the book "A Mind at a Time."

    While Dr. Levine is an enthusiastic and dynamic speaker with riveting anecdotes about his patients, his writing tends to be a little drier than his "in person" delivery. When he is telling these anecdotes and others in the book, it is gripping. The reader feels like they know the exact kid he is talking about, but a lot of the rest of the book is rather dry in its delivery.

    I love the message Dr. Levine has about each of us having learning differences and that learning to approach them and strategize a "work around" is the real solution, not labeling and medicating.

    I still plan on using this book for a study group in my school. I am hoping that as a group, we can cheer each other through the tougher sections. After the first 100 pages, I had to slot a day and time when I would read this book so that I didn't just put it down and never pick it up again.

    If you ever get the opportunity to hear Dr. Levine speak, jump at it....more info
  • 1
    I do not usually write reviews in as I am not really comfortable with the English language. I am not an expert either as Mr. Daniel T. Willingham the reviewer below. I am writing this because I think the review by Mr. Willingham is unfair toward Mr. Levine and his book. Mr. Willingham mentions how Mr. Levine gets a great many things wrong,(when he mentions only two points that are connected) as if cognitive psychology gets all things right and is the yardstick for theorizing for the brain. I am wondering if Mr. Willingham had read evolutionary psychology their theories about the brain, e.g. mass modularity of the brain, and their confrontation with cognitive psychology. I could not help myself from writing this review when I read "Many of the "processes" that Levine discusses appear nowhere in the scientific literature." What does this mean? If there is not in the scientific literature he cannot write about his thoughts and maybe be correct too (at least for the most part).

    Next he writes:
    "Levine seems to think that he can intuit these fundamental processes through case studies. This is exactly the method used by Freud, and the results are about the same. Freud at least had the excuse that there was not a world of research on the subject that he was systematically ignoring."
    If Mr. Willingham thinks that Levine and Freud follow the same methods he could read some books on Freud's life and ideas complemented with books from philosophy of science.

    Where is the world on research on the subject Mr. Willingham? I would take everything back if you give us prior research on this specific subject.
    Is this a review from a doleful professor that thinks something like this? I read all the theory, I did all by the book, I did not put any original theory forward not because I could not think anything new, I have thought a lot of new interesting things but I am still waiting the back up of scientific literature.
    :-( So why Levine is so famous and successful and not myself, I just proved with my review that I am smarter and more careful than Levine.)

    Myself I am not a professor but I am not close-minded either and because this book was very helpful to me I gave it 5 stars. ...more info
  • Mel Levine is an idiot
    I found this book to be insulting to children and to educators. This man obviously has no idea what he is talking about, his ideas are strictly from the deficiency model of student underachievement which has been shown to be a faulty method of explanantion. Any educator who reads this book and takes it seriously should be relieved of their jobs ASAP.

    In addition, his physical descriptions of his patients are bordering on perverted....more info
  • A key to understanding -- both self and child.
    This is a book, which addresses a particular struggle I've dealt with during much of my own life. Being more of an imaginative and dynamic learner, I continually asked the question of `why' during school lessons. If I could not understand why the information was important I would resist learning it. Fortunately, this book address different styles of learning and how each type is particularly gifted.

    -- The vignettes of children who struggle with different leering situations is particularly helpful in being able to grasp the challenge different learners have.

    -- He challenges the increase in attention deficit disorder diagnosis. This is something I believe needs to be addressed and I'm glad to see that author contributing positively by criticizing this trend. Medication should never be prescribed to a child for simply displaying a different learning pattern.

    -- Since different minds learn differently, it would have been helpful if the author included a section on how to cultivate a child's learning strengths. That is, what areas, activities, and interests typically most appeal to children with a certain learning tendency?

    -- Of course the area of the book which allows parents to work around learning weaknesses is very helpful. Simply because a child is not strong in one area, does not mean that the child cannot grow in that area.

    -- In the end, it comes down to a parent's willingness to spend the time necessary to really get to know a child's strengths and weakness. This requires energy, willingness and attention, but in the end results in a child with confidence and enthusiasm for learning....more info

  • Mel Levine opened my eyes and my heart
    I've read the professional reviews and they are interesting, but as a parent they are glossy and shiny but don't ring with the truth I found in this book. The first time I read a Mel Levine book I cried. Because finally someone understood just what my child FELT. I was also enraged because here was a learned professional espousing what I always knew in my heart to be true but the education system in our rural community was so hopelessly out of date, change of this scope is decades if not centuries away.

    But, what this book did give me was a new vocabulary. It opened my eyes to the fact that many teachers are rigid and many simply do not have the resources in the existing structure of the school system to meet the needs of, not only my child, but as many as half the children in their classroom. And in all honesty, some teachers should not be teachers. With luck and perseverence, I MAY be able to influence my child's teachers, but I can not change this system in his lifetime.

    What I can do, is change how I talk to my child, how I reinforce their learning in the home, and more importantly how I talk to him about his frustrations in his classroom.

    I am my child's best advocate. After reading this book, I was better armed with tools and ideas for addressing my child's educational needs, and my informed input was better received by his educators.

    Having a child with "special needs" has no easy cure and will always be a source of anxiety for me. But Mel Levine's books (I've read four of them) help arm me for the on-going fight for his rights as a student. ...more info
  • Finally...a common sense approach to education.
    Dr. Levine's landmark book does more than "celebrate differences," it offers a fresh, clear-eyed, common sense view of how this country needs to educate her children.

    For too long public education has clung to the Ford-assembly line model, one-size-fits-all paradigm of education, and this is not going to provide a productive, cutting-edge workforce for the 21st century.

    This book will challenge the reader to re-think some of their long held assumptions about how children are to be education. You cannot read this book and think the same about your child's education. I know that this has been the case with me.

    Dr. Levine has provided a valuable resource to educators and parents alike....more info

  • A Mind at a Time
    Book is in good, promised condition. My only complaint is that it got here later than I thought it would....more info
  • parents and educators need to understand this
    Dr. Mel Levine has worked for a long time with children so that they could grow up feeling responsible, successful and with good self esteem. He has spent a great deal of time working with experts in many disciplines in order to understand how children learn and how to help them if they are struggling.

    He has broken learning into several areas of input, processing, storage, retrieval and output. Parents and educators can use this information to understand where a child may be having problems and then use ideas from his book to help turn things around for the child/student.

    What the book does let us know is that learning is not easy but more like rocket science, in that it is a combination of innate abilities and deficits of the child, and the abilities of the adults to work with the abilities and help remediate the deficits through a combination of interventions and accommodations. There is also no quick turn around, since the educational demands change over time with new areas of difficulty recognized with the increased demands....more info
  • My Best Advice
    This book is a must read for educators and students alike. And I mean ALL educators and students. You will be grateful for the information and advice. I am. And, I must say, I am also grateful for the advice of a previous reviewer who recommended that, after I read Mel Levine's great "A Mind at a Time", I also read Norman Thomas Remick's "West Point: Thomas Jefferson: Character Leadership Education". It WAS an education. This is my best advice....more info
  • Attention Educators and Parents
    This is a must read for any parent with a child who has trouble in school. To the educators who read it, I hope that they can understand that not every child in your class can keep up with you all the time. That some students go into overload, we as adults at times feel overloaded and overwhelmed by our chosen careers, the one strength we have, yet we expect our children to go to school, be an honor student, an athlete, choir member, socially acceptable, etc.
    Dr. Levine's insight into the brain has made me aware of some of my shortcomings as an adult, things that I struggled with in school and still continue to have difficulty with. How I at times felt that my child was being lazy and not trying their best, when perhaps it was just a concept they couldn't understand.
    It is very informative for parents in understanding that your child is not alone....more info
  • Rich with Personal Case Studies to Demonstrate His Points
    I didn't get what I wanted out of this book because I am not the intended audience--My daughter is only four years old and is ahead of the curve in every subject I test her on. Dr. Levine writes for an audience whose children are mostly in high school even though he will review their histories all the way back to pre-school in many of his case histories. That being said, I found this book rich with real-life case studies of children with learning difficulties. He has examples from the boys and girls that he has personally worked with to illustrate several points that he makes. I find those specific case studies to be the best part of his book. They support some of his theories and assertions. His arguments become weaker when he refers to other people's research--like when he said that research has shown that high school children can learn a second language better than pre-school children and therefore he recommends that children with verbal deficiencies should postpone studying a second language until the 11th grade. This skirts over the differences between pre-school language learning vs. high school language learning and ignores that there is a different kind of language learning going on at age 4 and at age 16. At age four you can't memorize as much information or learn as quickly as can a 16 year old, but the four year old can easily learn native syntax and pronunciation which the 16 year old may never learn. Anyway, this book offers a lot to parents and teachers of high school children who have learning difficulties but perhaps is less relevant for those outside of that audience....more info