READING GROUP GUIDE
1. The author suggests that the "habits of mind" -- and even the brains -- of today's students have been changed by contemporary media and fast-paced lifestyles. Do you think it is possible? If so, have you seen any evidence to support this assertion?
2. What might account for the fact that young children's IQ scores appear to be rising at the same time older students' academic achievement scores are a cause for widespread concern?
3. The concept of "critical" or "sensitive" periods implies that if appropriate stimulation is lacking at the time when the brain is most receptive to it, the resulting skill development may be impaired. Acquiring the accent of a non-native language is given as an example. Can you think of any other life skills for which there seem to be critical/sensitive periods?
4. Chapters 4 and 5 stress the importance of language development for a wide variety of academic and personal skills. Which of these skills might be especially important for today's youngsters' future success, and why is language development involved? Can you think of any others that are not mentioned here?
5. Have you noticed any specific problems with listening abilities or critical thinking in today's culture? How would you rate the quality of language available in various media? Comment on the potential effects -- political, social, or economic -- for a society in which young people grow up unaccustomed to