How Children Succeed – “Book Club” Series

Recently we released “College Initiatives Redefined,” a report highlighting the past, present, and future of our college initiatives program and results. In our report we acknowledged four assumptions that guided our early thinking and work with students in our first few years as well as corresponding “lessons learned.” While the full report explores multiple components of our college initiatives program, our upcoming blog series will focus exclusively on developing non-academic skills that contribute to college success.

For this new summer series, we invite our followers to join us in reading How Children Succeed by Paul Tough and add to the conversation. Throughout this “book club” blog series we aim to identify opportunities and generate practical, easy-to-implement strategies to develop students’ non-cognitive skills on a daily basis within the constraints of the classroom and required curricular objectives.

7 Non-cognitive Skills towards College Success

Much of How Children Succeed explores various case studies and corresponding research related to the college persistence of students from low-income communities. Early in the text, Tough emphasizes the work of Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson. Seligman and Peterson consulted works spanning history and encompassing various societies to develop a list of twenty-four character strengths associated with a good quality of life – a life of meaning and fulfillment.

At the request of David Levin, cofounder of KIPP, and Dominic Randolph, headmaster at Riverdale Country School, Peterson condensed the list of twenty-four character strengths into a more practical system for school implementation. Peterson narrowed the list to seven character strengths most likely to predict life satisfaction and high achievement: grit, self-control, zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity.

Our book club blog series will explore each character strength over the course of the next few weeks, starting Wednesday, June 25. Please join us in reading How Children Succeed by Paul Tough and add your own insight and ideas to the conversation!

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