1.10 Reading Aloud and Multiple Intelligences

For most of the 20th century, scholars thought that there was only one kind of intelligence, and that intelligence was measured by people’s IQ score. However, now, many scholars believe that we have many ways to be intelligent. This new idea is called Multiple Intelligences.

Multiple Intelligences is an optimistic idea because it says that everyone is smart, and we are each smart in different ways. When we combine our intelligences, when we help each other, we can all be more successful and happier. Also, we can become more intelligent in different ways when we use our various intelligences.

The purpose of this brief text is to explain eight intelligences and to consider how they can each be used to make our read aloud sessions more enjoyable and successful. Table 1 describes eight intelligences, according to Professor Howard Gardner. In the table, “a.k.a.” means “also known as.” In other words, “a.k.a.” is another way to state a similar meaning.

Name of Intelligence Features of the Intelligence Ideas for Combining the Intelligence with Reading Aloud
Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence, a.k.a., Word Smart People enjoy and are good at using words Write down interesting words from the book you are reading together. Play with antonyms and synonyms of words in the book.
Logical-Mathematical-Intelligence, a.k.a., Logic/Math Smart: People enjoy and are good at using reasoning and doing calculations Think about what might happen in a sequel to the book. Do arithmetic with numbers in the book.
Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence, a.k.a., Body Smart People enjoy and are good at sports, dancing, and using their hands


Copy actions done by the characters in the book. Act out scenes from the book.
Visual-Spatial Intelligence, a.k.a., Art Smart People enjoy and are good at drawing, design, and navigation Make a cover to protect the book with a big drawing on it. Do a drawing of an important scene from the book.
Naturalist Intelligence, a.k.a., Observation/Nature Smart People enjoy and are good at observation, categorization, and being with and caring for nature Do reading aloud outside. Read books about animals.
Intrapersonal Intelligence, a.k.a., Self Smart People enjoy and are good at sometimes spending time alone, and are able to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to self-regulate Discuss how you would feel if you were a character in the book. Write a diary entry for one of the book’s characters.
Interpersonal Intelligence, a.k.a., People Smart People enjoy and are good at spending time with others, are able to understand others and to cooperate with them Think of advice for one of the characters in the book. Who do you know who is similar to one of the people in the book?
Musical-Rhythmic Intelligence, a.k.a., Music Smart People enjoy music and are good at singing, playing instruments, and keeping a beat Play music in the background while reading aloud. What is a song that the book makes you think about.

Here are two pointers about combining read aloud with Multiple Intelligences. One, you do not need to use all eight intelligences every time you read aloud. Two, remember that we can all become smarter in all eight intelligences. Thus, try to use a variety of intelligences, not the same one or two each time.

Summary: Multiple Intelligences offers an optimistic view of human beings and gives us many ideas for adding variety to read aloud sessions.