The big talkers are children with advanced language abilities who always
have something to say. They are keenly interested in a variety of subjects and
will speak at great length about their areas of expertise. These children may
be able to recall and recite long and complex songs, stories, or instructions,
correctly using sophisticated phrases or idioms such as “stroke of luck” or “as
a matter of fact.” In addition to advanced vocabulary, big talkers are likely to
use longer and more complex sentences, and show an interest in and ability to
converse about more complex concepts. Big talkers often prefer talking with
adults rather than with their peers because they feel only adults are able to
understand them and respond to them in ways they find satisfying. Big talkers
may also be able to do more with language than just use sophisticated words
and converse about advanced subjects; they may also use language creatively,
such as by making up their own words or language using a system of beeps
The early readers are children who can decode text independently and read
with some fluency even before entering kindergarten. An example is a three-
year-old child who can tackle beginning readers like Go, Dog. Go! by P. D.
Eastman and is ready for something more challenging. Although she fre-
quently chooses the book area during free-choice time, she often fidgets and
seems bored during group time because the language and plots in the stories
read to the class are not complex or challenging enough to hold her attention.
The little scientists are children who are insatiably curious about how things
work. They’ll take apart a tricycle rather than ride it. They may even delib-
erately bust open the old toaster you keep in the housekeeping area, just to
see for themselves what it looks like inside. Or you might find a little scientist
crawling on the floor under the bathroom sink because he’s trying to figure
out how the pipes carry hot and cold water to the faucets. Little scientists are
probably keen observers, typically with very long and focused attention spans.
They may spend every minute of outdoor play lying in the grass watching ants
travel in and out of an anthill.
The puzzle experts are children with an early aptitude for math topics such
as geometry. They see the world in shapes, lines, and angles. They can inde-
pendently put together a hundred-piece puzzle and perhaps even explain their
strategies as they do it. When they play with wooden or Lego blocks, they may
not want to share with anyone because they already have such a clear vision for
the structure they’re going to build.
10 | Chapter 1