Well-developed visual skills are a prerequisite for success in math. Here are some tips for fostering your child’s visual skills.
"Logical-Mathematical Intelligence" is one of the seven types of intelligence described by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner in his book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Basic Books, 1993). According to Gardner, children strong in this type of intelligence have well-developed visual skills. They complete arithmetic problems quickly in their head, easily develop computer skills and win at games that require a visual strategy like checkers and chess.
Thomas Armstrong, in his book, In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child's Personal Style of Learning (Putnam Publishing Group, 1988), refers to a child's ability to develop and manipulate mental images as an "inner blackboard." Dr. Armstrong points to the "importance of the mental image as a crucial step along the way toward higher abstract thinking for the young child." He adds that as the child grows, "thinking becomes clothed in the rich fabric of inner imagery."
Research and writings by both Gardner and Armstrong strongly suggest that well-developed visual skills are a prerequisite for success in math. Even though your child may not be a "natural" when it comes to using inner vision, you can help her develop the ability. Here are some suggestions for cultivating your child’s inner blackboard: