Product Code:
545561 (Softbound)
545578 (e-book)
978-1-60554-556-1 (Softbound)
978-1-60554-557-8 (e-book)
Age Focus: 4–8
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Published by Redleaf Press Free sample chapter

Develop higher-order thinking in young learners

Higher-order thinking makes teaching and learning more engaging and intentional, adds intellectual rigor to any curriculum, and aids the development of some important life skills in young learners. Higher order thinking skills are key for success in school and life. Dr. Saifer provides numerous strategies for promoting higher-order thinking effectively across all content areas throughout the day.

Higher order thinking (HOT) entails the mental manipulation of information, whereas lower order thinking (LOT) entails the straightforward use or direct application of information. For example:

  • counting to 10 is a LOT skill; determining that there are 10 more days of school until summer vacation is a HOT skill
  • decoding letter sounds and memorizing site words are LOT skills; understanding what one hears or reads are HOT skills
  • when teachers ask questions such as "What's the name of this shape?" (while holding up a triangular piece of paper), they are eliciting lower order thinking. But, asking students to cut a rectangular piece of paper to make as many triangles as they can, elicits higher order thinking

Just about every teaching and learning activity can be developed or modified to promote one or more types of higher-order thinking skills. Dr. Saifer’s strategies can be easily modified to be responsive to a variety of cultures and to meet a range of learning abilities, styles, and intelligences. Just as establishing good nutrition habits early sets the foundation for a healthier life, developing basic-level HOT skills sets the foundation for a more productive and purposeful life.

200 pages



Author Steffen Saifer took time to share with us his life experience and passion for early childhood education. Click here to read his Author Spotlight testimony.

About Steffen Saifer

Steffen Saifer, Ed.D is an international consultant and writer based in Spain. His previous work included leading the development of a national kindergarten curriculum in the Republic of Georgia for more..