Why? Why? Why?

I can’t believe it’s been a week since I last wrote! I’m trying to work up to at least two blogs a week, but obviously, I am not there yet!

I describe right-brained learners in my book, but I have another example I want to share. I hope you will excuse my telling a story about my grandson. I know grandmothers can be tiring, and since I think being a grandma is the best thing ever, I fear I might be the most tiring of all!

In the book, though, I mention how right-brained learners need to know where they are going before they can take the first step. That scene from one of the Raiders of the Lost Ark series where Harrison Ford steps into nothingness over a deep crevasse only to have a bridge suddenly appear??? That would not be the right-brained processor. “Let me know where I’m going, and why it’s important, then I’ll take a step.”

My grandson is five years old. He will start kindergarten in the fall (next month!), so my daughter is working on his letters with him. He loves story time before bed, but the rest of the day, he prefers moving….Even if he’s playing with his trains, he will play for a few minutes, stand and jump, jump, jump, then sit back down to play some more. He’s known colors and shapes for a long time, but has shown absolutely no interest in learning his letters. The lessons have not gone well.

That is, until about a month ago. He was complaining once again, and finally looked at his mother and asked, “Why do I have to learn the letters?”

She gave him a look of disbelief, and answered, “So you can learn how to read!”

He stared at her with wide eyes….a look of disbelief that was way more impressive than hers had been.

“I GET TO LEARN HOW TO READ?????!!!!!!!”

“Yes! When you learn your letters, you can learn to read words, and then you’ll be able to read books by yourself!”

Since that day, he has been working diligently to learn the letters and sounds. If my daughter can’t work with him, he asks for PBS shows that teach reading skills. Amazing. How many times have we, as parents, just expected our children to figure out on their own why we’re doing something, or simply expect them to do it because we tell them to? I know, explaining takes time, and time is a precious commodity. But efforts you can manage in the small amount of time you have will likely have a surprising pay-off.

I believe my grandson will probably be a right-brained learner, which is all right even though schools don’t often work well for right-brainers. My daughter is the queen of right-brained learning. We used Tinker Toys and Legos to get her through chemistry, and it worked! Also, her husband is an engineer, so he understands the right-brain process. You know, “What do you mean, read the directions?? I’ll just figure it out.” Right-brained folks are the ones who look at the picture, then they know how the puzzle works. They learn by taking things apart and putting them back together (hopefully). The interesting thing is that my grandson is adopted. He’s got the perfect family!

Most children learn best by doing, and honestly, I believe elementary schools are generally better at providing that opportunity than middle or high schools. Science labs are “doing,” but although they could be interesting or even fun, I’m not sure that I often made the connection to what I was supposed to be learning. Connections are difficult, and they are the most important things with which parents and teachers can help children.



Tressa Reisetter has a new book out for parents:

Getting to Know Your Child’s Brain.

Here’s the link:


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