Multiple Intelligences
Multiple IntelligencesIntroductionAssessmentPracticeResourcesContactgrey bar
Multiple Intelligences
MI symbols

Headline: Practice: Teaching Individual Subjects


Comprehension is not named as a specific area in our four-part lesson plan, but it underlies all we do and we devote some specific training time to it. During our first training, we use a poster of a ballet dancer's legs, a slice of a small tree trunk and a diagram of a football play, to illustrate that we are all "readers". Some of us read print well, others read diagrams, pictures, or body language well. How we understand depends on our prior experience, knowledge, and ability to generalize, infer, predict and create.

Tutors can approach comprehension in a number of ways, starting by talking with learners about their skills and strengths. Let's say a particular learner is proud of her skill as a house painter. How did she learn her trade? What makes one paint job better than another? If money and time were not considerations, how would she proceed? How would she teach an apprentice? This information might reveal much about that person's learning style and how they comprehend best. Remember that comprehension is a life skill as well as a reading skill, and it is greatly enhanced by discussing life experiences. Preliterate peoples knew and comprehended the forces of nature and danger signs by reading their surroundings. We comprehend based on our needs and experiences. However, in a more literate society, we are more dependent on text.

Some of our textbooks seem to imply that comprehension means answering questions at the end of a reading selection. Comprehension of the written word is more than a simple understanding of the story line or answering questions that start with who, what, or when. While that's a part of the comprehending process, comprehension also includes finding personal meaning in what has been read and in discovering how the story or information applies to the reader. It means finding a truth for the self and recognizing that those truths, from individual to individual, can be very different. Your idea of what's in the reading can be very different from mine. Through discussion we can share our viewpoints, reach a common ground, and acknowledge the validity of the different views. Ultimately, comprehension means finding yourself in the written word.


Involving the Intelligences
in Comprehension

Language intelligence

Write a list of words that describes a character in a story you just read.

After reading instructions, tell someone how to perform the activity (i.e., recipe).

Explain what you like or understand in a story.

Tell which details support the main idea.

Language intelligence

Use pictures, movies to generate the discussion.

Visualize the setting of a story or what a character looks like.

Draw pictures that show how to do something.

Look at a picture and describe it in detail.


Language intelligence

Make up a new title to what you've just read.

Pick out the sentence in a paragraph that doesn't belong.

Make up questions that identify sequence in a story or poem.

Tell what will happen next in the story.

Outline what you've read.

Language intelligence

Discuss what you've read while taking a walk.

Act out a story or a set of directions.

Go to a play.

Cut up cartoons and put them into a logical sequence.

Language intelligence

Listen to music and write lyrics.

Listen to music and interpret its meaning.

Read poetry and song lyrics and discuss.

Read a story and write a song about it.

Language intelligence

Read a skit or play, with each person taking a different part.

Discuss what you've read with a partner.

Try duet reading with another person.


Language intelligence

Connect what you've read with your own experiences.

Use imagery to remember what you've read.

Read and reflect.

Language intelligence

Read in a favorite outdoor location.

Read works that focus on nature or the environment. Ask yourself why the author has chosen to write about a particular subject. If the topic is something that is of interest to you, think about how you would write the book if you were the author.

Examine the way characters dress and talk in fictional stories. What do they have in common? How are they different from each other?

Stop at points during your reading and try to guess what will happen next, based on what you've read so far.



Section: Practice Sidebar: Engaging the intelligencesSidebar: Teaching individual subjectsSidebar: Additional Strategies