Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs “childish” thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids’ big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups’ willingness to learn from children as much as to teach. See what she has to say to you.

Why you should listen:

Svitak has since fashioned her beyond-her-years wordsmithing into an inspiring campaign for literacy — speaking across the country to both adults and kids. She is author of Flying Fingers, a book on learning.

Who is she:

A voracious reader from age three, Adora Svitak’s first serious foray into writing — at age five — was limited only by her handwriting and spelling. (Her astonishing verbal abilities already matched that of young adults over twice her age.) As her official bio says, her breakthrough would soon come “in the form of a used Dell laptop her mother bought her.” At age seven, she typed out over 250,000 words — poetry, short stories, observations about the world — in a single year.


1) When you hear someone describe another as “childish” what conclusions can you make about the individual acting “childish”?

2) Svitak states, “in many ways, our audacity to imagine helps push the boundaries of possibility.” What are some examples?

3) List a few examples of how adults learn from kids.

4) In what ways would reciprocated rule making between teachers and students be beneficial? In what ways would it be disadvantageous?

5) In order for society to move forward, kids need to grow up to be even better adults than the generation before them. Does this mean that kids are wiser than adults?

6) Think back to your childhood, were there times when you wished you were heard more by older generations? After listening to this talk, do you have a different outlook on what adults can learn from kids?

What Adults can Learn from Kids with Adora Svitak


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