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Your Child's Strengths: Discover Them, Develop Them, Use Them

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  337 ratings  ·  68 reviews
An essential book for parents and teachers that explores how children’s individual strengths create success

With this groundbreaking work, educator Jenifer Fox is poised to change the conversation about education in this country. For too long, parents and teachers have focused on identifying and “fixing” kids’ weaknesses to improve academic performance. Passionately writt
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 28th 2008 by Viking
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3.90  · 
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 ·  337 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfic-parenting
As a kid I hated reading. I even lied and cheated in school to avoid it. A couple years ago, I discovered that I could listen to audiobooks downloaded from the library on my iPod. A whole new world of reading opened up for me. Sometimes, in the middle of a series I was listening to, a book or two would not be available in audio format. So, I would read the in between books to fill in the gaps. I was surprised to find that reading was not the chore I remembered it to be. I actually liked reading! ...more
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2009
This just reinforces all our philosophies about raising children. Children need empathy and respect and it isn't helpful to focus on failures and punishment. It is also interesting to think about my own strengths and what things make me thrive.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love the high school strengths program described in the appendix. I wish I had something like that growing up.
Boulder Book Store
Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: author-events
Thursday, March 13, 2008, at 7:30pm at the Boulder Book Store.
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
So far amazing...can't wait to get to the practical discoveries.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
While I thought the book had some interesting ideas, and the author I believe is well intentioned in wanting to help children succeed, I did have a few complaints with the book.

The author’s definition of “strengths” isn’t necessarily the traditional definition. She seems to define strengths as something that “energizes” an individual. She wants us to help identify these things that energize individuals and help them pursue those things to find success, and to develop skills and talents in those
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This strives to help us be more aware of what makes us feel strong, empowered, good, and to help those around us become more aware too. The idea is that if we truly know not just what we are good at, but what brings us satisfaction to do, then we will be more successful. I like the premise. The book itself is targeting school administrators, teachers, and parents all in one, so there are whole sections that as a parent I did not find accessible. But as a whole, the philosophy is something I can ...more
Julie (jjmachshev)
Jul 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
What an excellent book for parents, educators, and just about everyone else too. "Your Child's Strengths" by Jenifer Fox is a well-structured, logical, and methodical plan for bringing out the best in children, while inculcating resiliance and responsibility to help them face the ups and downs ahead of them.

Fox uses well thought-out plans, exercises, and examples to help her target audience learn how to re-focus their senses to work WITH children rather than trying to work ON children. Her appro
Barry Davis
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
An extensive and practical guide for parents and teachers, subtitled “Discover Them, Develop Them, Use Them.” The author heads a private school in NJ, has 25 years of experience in teaching and administration. After spending significant time describing how our educational system focuses more on weaknesses than strengths (she calls it the “weakness habit”), she challenges the reader to consider that LD does not so much stand for Learning Disabled as Learning Different. Focusing on the strength si ...more
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
What a great read for parents and teachers. It takes the opposite approach of the current system of finding children's fault's and then trying to fix them, and instead focuses on finding their strengths and developing them. It was a good reminder that children do not have to excel at every subject. Their strengths are things that interest, energize, and enliven them (and not simply, I am good at soccer, but I enjoy working with a team or figuring out strategies). The process of discovery is one ...more
Nov 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
I found only part of this book useful, the line of questioning for children. It could have been a short, one page book! The rest is very tired, has been covered, and is of no interest to me. I'm always looking for some new thoughts, and she only had a very small one. I think perhaps if she had worked more on questioning, and less on the other topics, I would have rated it much higher.

My family home learns, and this is very school-oriented. Perhaps not so surprising, since this lady is a principa
David Rickert
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found this book a fascinating look at how schools are falling short in getting kids to understand their strengths. Too often, Fox says, school operate from a weakness standpoint, showing kids what they can't do rather than helping them discover what they can do. This book is a useful read for those interested in helping children figure out not jsut what they are good at, but the type of activities that excite them and energize them. You can be good at something but not like to do it, and that' ...more
Natalie Barnes
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I picked this book up I thought it was written specifically for parents but while reading it i actually felt like it was more for educators but can also be used by parents. i liked how she spoke about strengths as being something that gives us a positive energy and not necessarily something that others see us as being good at. somebody can't be told what their strengths are but we have to discover them ourselves. first we must go through this journey ourselves and then we can help children ...more
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I like this author's viewpoint of education and schooling. As a homeschooler I wanted to be sure I allowed my children to develop their own personal strengths and to be empowered by them. I wanted them to use their strengths to overcome any "weakness" that they were "told" they had (not by me, but by others who would be their teachers when I wasn't around). I'm a very positive person and the ideas presented in this book helped me validate my kid's individual learning styles. I'm done with this b ...more
Ruth Ann
In real life, people build their careers based upon their strengths. Most people are not completely well-rounded and they succeed in life nonetheless. In the age of high-stakes testing, schools are being forced to produce students who grow evenly in all curriculum areas. If one of a child's skills fails to develop according to the prescribed sequence and timeline, the school hurries in to "remediate".
Wouldn't it be better to build upon strengths rather than give young children the message that t
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
I really identified with this book (another education book, albeit one that can be applied to other arenas) but it talks about in our current educational system we tend to be focused on our weaknesses so that we can overcome them and learn. However this book sets out the premise that it would be better to help our students (and children) to identify their strengths (those things that make them feel alive and energetic) so that they can use their strengths in other arenas and so that they can eve ...more
Jan 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
This was a tough book to get through for some reason. It's meaty and has good information but after I got too far into realized that it's meant for kids over the age of nine. It still has lots of practical ideas that I know we can take into account with our son but for ages 4 and younger and through elementary school it's more of reflecting on your child's likes, etc. and documenting those for later use as they go through the discovery process later in life. I might pick it back up again once ou ...more
Sep 05, 2009 is currently reading it
The school system teaches from an archaic place and does not recognize strengths of individual as a rule. Parents and teachers have to work together to foster this type of learning. Early on, children may get diagnosed with a LD or learning disorder. This may enable the child to receive more attention in school but does not address the real issue, which is that children are engaged in learning when they are learning from a strength standpoint and understand how the content selected by teacher co ...more
Oct 31, 2008 is currently reading it
This is way more powerful than I ever suspected. I can't put it down and caused quite a conversation at my son's baseball game today. Jennifer Fox is brilliant. I only picked it up because Marcus Buckingham wrote the intro (I secretly have a crush on him), but now I'm realizing all that is wrong with our schools. I hope Barack Obama has read this book. Clearly, Bill and Melinda Gates have! Can't wait to learn more.
I am in the middle of reading this book & am realizing that I need to buy my own copy b/c this is one of those really helpful resourceful books that I know I will come back to time & time again. I haven't even gotten to the part of the book where it helps you not only identify your child's strengths but also your own. Another dually healing purposeful book that I can see by focusing on our strengths we can accomplish & be anything.
The beginning of this book got me fired up & thoroughly excited. However, the process and explanations of walking a tween/teen through this discovery at the back 1/2 ro 1/3 of the book is confusing, cumbersome and difficult to imagine really using. This was so disappointing after really enjoying her theories & stories. I haven't checked out the website to see if there are more user friendly tools or explanations, but the general motivations & writing are there for sure.
May 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Fox is an experienced teacher who effectively makes the case that we should be educating children according to their natural strengths, for their benefit and ours. She describes the three types of strengths: Activity, Learning, and Relationship. Along the way, she also provides a summary of the evolution of theories in education. The book includes a series of activities parents can do with their children to reveal their strengths.
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I felt like Ms. Fox identified and teaches true principles in this book. The book is a little repetitive, but she provides concrete examples of how to help and encourage children and others to understand their strengths and to thereby make empowering decisions relating to their relationships, their learning, and their career choices. There is a workbook that I have yet to really explore.
May 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: educational
I loved this book! I thought I was reading it for my kids, but honestly I needed it for myself. I highly recommend this to anyone with kids of any age. In fact, though I don't yet have teenagers, her chapters on teenagers were my favorite. The last fourth or so of the book are workbook style exercises that reinforce the principles in the first part of the book.
Excellant. Well written and easy to read. Different approach than others that I have read. Easy for me to relate to. I like the application component. As I read it, I wondered if maybe this is basic and something that everybody else always does. There are a few areas that I use this appoach as a teacher and parent, but I would like to make a paradigm switch.
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book presents an alternative way of viewing success for both children and adults. My only problem with the audio edition (used a downloadable version) is that a significant portion of the book is a workbook. This does not work well in an audio format. So I suggest listening to the audio version, and if the concepts are useful, gettng a print copy to use for the workbook activities.
Jan 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
The first half of the book was pretty much a waste of my time. I mean, seriously, I picked up the book, so obviously she was preaching to the choir. But I give it 4 stars because of the workbook pages in the back to help children, particularly adolescents figure out how they learn, what makes them happy, and how they can best contribute to a group. I'll definitely be referencing this again.
Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
LOVE this book. As a result of this book God is birthing in me a new dream as it relates to the Face of Education. I am excited to see where all of these ideas will go as well as my new relationship with the author!
Mary Ann
Some good content but the authors perspectives sometimes irritated me. I just couldn't force myself to finish it. A good skim would have gotten the point across for me. I did like the sample tests/ evaluations in the back. They were fun for my kids and I to do.
Mar 10, 2009 added it
This book will probably be on my 'currently reading' shelf for many months. The third section of the book which is where I am currently is a guided project to help you discover your and your child's strengths. So, if you see this book here awhile, that's why.
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“Conhecimento e técnicas. 'Que aspectos seus você pode mudar?' Conhecimento. Um conhecimento factual desse tipo não garantirá a excelência, mas a excelência é impossível sem ele. 'O modo de uma pessoa se engajar na vida pode não se alterar muito. Mas o foco da pessoa sim...'Para onde quer que olhemos, podemos ver exemplos de gente que mudou seu foco mudando seus valores: a conversão religiosa de Saulo no caminho para Damasco...Se quer mudar sua vida para que outros possam se beneficiar de seus pontos fortes, mude seus valores. Não perca tempo tentando mudar seus talentos. A aceitação de algumas coisas que nunca podem ser transformadas - talentos. Não mudamos. Simplesmente aceitamos nossos talentos e reordenamos nossas vidas em torno deles. Nós nos tornamos mais conscientes. Técnicas. 1. Anote qualquer historia, fato ou exemplo que encontre eco dentro de você. 2. Pratique em voz alta. Ouça a si mesmo pronunciando as palavras. 3. Essas histórias vão se tornar suas 'contas', como de um colar; 4.Só o que você tem a fazer quando dá uma palestra é enfileirar as contas na ordem apropriada, e sua apresentação parecerá tão natural quanto uma conversa. 5. Use pequenos cartões de arquivos ou um fichário para continuar adicionando novas contas ao seu colar.As técnicas se revelam mais valiosas quando aparecem combinadas com o talento genuíno. O talento é qualquer padrão recorrente de pensamento, sensação ou comportamento que possa ser usado produtivamente.Qualquer padrão recorrente de pensamento, sensação ou comportamento é um talento se esse padrão puder ser usado produtivamente. Mesmo a 'fragilidade' como a dislexia é um talento se você conseguir encontrar um meio de usá-la produtivamente. David Boies foi advogado do governo dos Estados Unidos no processo antitruste...Sua dislexia o faz se esquivar de palavras compridas, complicadas.As diferenças mais marcantes entre as pessoas raramente se dão em função de raça, sexo ou idade; elas se dão em função da rede ou das conexões mentais de cada pessoa. Como profissional, responsável tanto por seu talento por seu desempenho quanto por dirigir sua própria carreira, é vital que adquira uma compreensão precisa de como suas conexões mentais são moldadas. Incapaz de racionalizar cada mínima decisão, você é compelido a reagir instintivamente. Seu cérebro faz o que a natureza sempre faz em situações como essa: encontra e segue o caminho de menor resistência, o de seus talentos. Técnicas determinam se você pode fazer alguma coisa, enquanto talentos revelam algo mais importante: com que qualidade e com que frequência você a faz. Como John Bruer descreve em The Myth of the First Three Years, a natureza desenvolveu três modos para você aprender quando adulto: continuar a reforçar suas conexões sinápticas existentes (como acontece quando você aperfeçoa um talento usando técnicas apropriadas e conhecimento), continuar perdendo um maior número de suas conexões irrelevantes (como também acontece quando você se concentra em seus talentos e permite que outras conexões se deteriorem) ou desenvolver algumas conexões sinápticas a mais. Finalmente, o risco do treinamento repetitivo sem o talento subjacente é que você fique saturado antes de obter qualquer melhora.Identofique seus talentos mais poderosos, apure-os com técnicas e conhecimento e você estará no caminho certo para ter uma vida realmente produtiva.Se as evidências mais claras sobre seus talentos são fornecidas pelas reações espontâneas, aqui vão mais três pistas para ter em mente: desejos, aprendizado rápido e satisfação. Seus desejos refletem a realidade física de que algumas de suas conexões mentais são mais fortes do que outras.Algumas tiravam satisfação de ver outra pessoa obter algum tipo de progresso infinitesimal que a maioria de nós nem perceberia. Algumas adoravam levar ordem ao caos.(...) havia as que amavam as ideias. Outras desconfiavam d” 1 likes
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