Linguistic/Verbal Intelligence “Word Smarts”

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Linguistic intelligence relates to the ability to use words and language.

People talented in this area are good at convincing other people to do what they want them to do. They may use humor to diffuse situations and get their point across. They tend to understand and tell jokes well.

Linguistic intelligence is sparked by the spoken word; by reading other’s written thoughts; and by writing one’s own ideas.

Parents can influence their children’s “words smarts” by using the following home activities, developed by Connie Hine and Margaret Lewis Crosby, experts in child development.

  • While cooking and baking, tell a story about another time you made this recipe.
  • When picking up a room, create a story to tell the child while cleaning. “Broadcast” what the child is doing or have the child be the announcer.
  • While reading a story, explain the meaning of new words. Read poetry, magazines, and stories.
  • At bedtime, have the child tell a story about his day. Read to each other.
  • When grocery shopping, point out words on signs, shelves, boxes, and bottles. Do a play-by-play of the whole trip.
  • During family game time, play word games like Scrabble ®, Boggle®, crossword puzzles, hangman.
  • While traveling, make up words for people, places, and things. Create a mystery story about the places visited and the people you met. Look for letters on license plates. Listen to audio books.
  • During homework, have the child talk through the problems assigned, and verbalize her thoughts before writing.
  • For the news, read the newspaper and magazines. Talk about what was read.
  • For family, make up or have the child invent a story about each family member.
  • To get out of the house on time, create a verbal routine using cue words with time periods built in. Have the child tell a story of what could happen if you don’t get out on time. The story does not have to be serious. Humor can still get the point across.

Adults who have strong linguistic intelligences may find success in: public speaking, poetry, journalism, comedy, play writing, newscasting, story-telling, law, and teaching.

To spark this intelligence in adults:

  • Read a story you like and write your own next chapter—“Then what happens?”
  • Listen to someone else’s ideas then ask her questions about the topic.
  • Learn the meaning of one new word each day and use that word.
  • Make a speech on a topic of great interest to you.
  • Keep a journal or blog to write your thoughts about the day’s events.




Next week will be Sock Puppet Tim’s first solo performance. The YouTube link will be on the blog page of my website. Come and cheer him on!

Join me the following week for the next installment of Multiple Intelligences, a closer look at Logical/Mathematical Intelligence and how to strengthen it in children.

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