By Ron Elve
Yes, prodigies are just born and we should support their strengths and even stay out of their way. Though it is also important to ensure that their social skills and basic happiness receive at least equal time—i.e. they are not too geeky!
Developing the more average or slowish child is an equal challenge. Studies show that general learning-oriented stimulation (such as that afforded the youngest in a family where parents and older siblings are stimulating sources) can be productive. Being read to is one excellent aid in this respect, especially if it is interactive.
Social skills can be very valuable and, indeed, can lead to broader life success versus over-concentration on standard SAT oriented learning.
Evidence cited by specialists such as Abraham Maslow shows that breaking material sequentially down into small bits can facilitate learning. Indeed, his research was the basis of many proposals for helping low income learners master quite complex material. And there is research that very limited learners hang on very tightly to whatever they do learn.