Kids Are Smarter Than We Think

Expert Says We Can Make Them Smarter

VENICE, CA--(Marketwire - March 16, 2009) - Illiteracy isn't just an inconvenience, according to the National Literacy Institute. It's a national emergency.

According to recommendations recently made to President Obama's education advisors, the U.S. is facing an unprecedented literacy crisis that reflects a need for the nation to invest in early education programs and make language development a primary focus of every preschool.

But Micah Linton, author and artist of "weebeasts," from Beast Stew / Greenleaf Press Book Group ( believes that we can help stem that tide by offering children more complex books for early childhood reading. His premise is that young children are like sponges, and can absorb more information and concepts than their older counterparts.

"Young children are smarter than we give them credit for being," Linton said. "When we look at how younger children embrace the larger universes of Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, it's easy to see that they can understand stories originally written for much older audiences. So, why not write similar stories for their reading levels, from early childhood on up?"

The interesting thing, according to Linton, is that sometimes the marketers seem to know more about how smart kids are than educators do.

"Although the stories are aimed at older audiences, a lot of the licensing and merchandising is aimed at younger audiences, and they aren't just attracted by the pictures and art -- they know the characters and the stories," Linton said. "They role-play the characters on the playgrounds and in the backyard, and they understand the contexts. However, young people don't distinguish between learning and play, so we can use these entertainment franchises to lead them into stories with more complex themes and worlds as they get older."

Linton believes that stories like Star Wars, in which the rebels could be likened to the early colonists and the empire to the British crown, can even help kids become more interested in their historical counterparts.

About Micah Linton

International chronicler and creator of the new weebeasts®, Micah Linton was first recognized for his work as an artist and designer for more than ten years in the video game industry. Linton was responsible for creating hit video games for DreamWorks SKG, Activision, and Electronic Arts, among other entertainment publishers.

Contact Information: Contact: Rachel Friedman