Blog Archives

Humor and Gifted Kids

gtchat 07192018 Humor

This week at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT we explored the relationship between humor and gifted kids. Our guest was Jo Freitag, #gtchat Advisor and founder/coordinator of Gifted Resources in Victoria, Australia. She also blogs at the Gifted Resources Blog and  Sprite’s Site. Jo wrote a great post at Sprite’s Site about this week’s chat, The Punch Line!

Gifted children with advanced abilities well beyond their years can manipulate and play with words in demonstrating verbal ability. They enjoy puns and word games which lead to seeing everyday situations in a comedic light.

Recognition and appreciation of adult humor is often part of an extensive native knowledge base possessed by intellectually gifted children. They may enjoy absurd types of humor such as Monty Python. Higher levels of intelligence permit the gifted child to be more quick witted and display a sense of humor that belies their ability to interpret everyday experiences in a different light than age-peers or even older children.

What are some of the downsides of verbal ability for gifted children? Language abilities tend to shine a light on gifted children making them a target of age-peers who don’t understand them. This can lead to teasing and verbal bullying. When bored in the classroom, gifted children may be prone to express thoughts and feelings conceived as being a ‘class clown’; considered an annoyance by teachers and even other high achievers in the classroom.

Teachers and professionals can use ‘sense of humor’ as an indicator of giftedness.  Recognizing a mature sense of humor is an easy way to begin the identification process. Expressions of humor deemed beyond that of age-peers may reveal a gifted child in hiding. Teachers and professionals can provide opportunities for gifted students to express humor in settings such as school talent shows.

What can teachers do to develop humor potential in gifted children? They may use satire in Greek drama, political cartooning, or investigate bathos (anticlimax; especially in literature) and pathos (pity, sadness; in rhetoric, film, or literature) to develop humor potential in gifted children. Teachers can encourage using humor appropriately and at appropriate times; using humor for positive purposes; and give students time to explore different types of humor. They should model appropriate forms of humor that show students the need to be considerate of others’ feelings; emphasizing the importance of developing positive relationships with age-peers.

Humor can also help gifted children deal with stress. At work and school, it can increase creative output and thus reduce negativity associated with stress. Humor is a natural way to reduce stress; to recognize social injustice and work to seek a way forward involving fairness and equality in society. Humor and laughter can enhance enjoyable leisure activities. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


It’s a Funny Thing: A Gifted Child’s Sense of Humor

Characteristics of Gifted Children: A Closer Look

Verbal Humor in Gifted Students and Students in the General Population: A Comparison of Spontaneous Mirth and Comprehension (Abstract Only)

Affective Trait 5: Advanced Sense of Humour (pdf)

The Double-Edged Sword of Giftedness, Part 2: Affective Traits

Tips for Parents: Teaching the Use of Humor to Cope with Stress

An Investigation of the Role of Humor in the Lives of Highly Creative Young Adults (pdf)

The Power of Humor in Ideation and Creativity

Haha and aha! : Creativity, Idea Generation, Improvisational Humor, and Product Design (pdf)

The Power of Laughter: Seven Secrets to Living and Laughing in a Stressful World (Amazon)

The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach (Amazon)

Using Improvisation to Enhance the Effectiveness of Brainstorming (pdf)

How to Spot a Gifted Child

Raisin’ Brains: Surviving My Smart Family (Amazon)

Neuroscience of Giftedness: Greater Connectivity Across Brain Regions

Class Clown or Gifted Student? It’s A Matter of Perspective

Comedians’ Smarts, Humor, and Creativity

How Laughing Leads to Learning

The Benefits of Humor in the Classroom

Using Humor in the Classroom

Edublogs Webinar Overview – Using ToonDoo

Health Benefits of Laughter (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Words Page

Cybraryman’s Humor in the Classroom Page

Cybraryman’s Educational Puns Page

Photos courtesy of Jo Freitag and Natasha Bertrand.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Locating Age-Appropriate Books for High Ability Learners

M3352M-1009Young Reader*

Locating age-appropriate books for high ability learners can prove difficult  for several reasons. Asynchronous development may mean that a very young child could comprehend reading material well beyond what may be considered appropriate for their age. As Lisa Van Gemert of American Mensa pointed out, interest levels and sensitivities also play important roles when finding appropriate yet challenging books for these children. Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources commented that material deemed appropriate for a child’s chronological age might be considered too simplistic and unsatisfying to the child. Leslie Graves, President of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, noted that the depth of thought embedded in the content and the pace of information offered would also make many leveled offerings inappropriate as well.

Young reader black and whiteChild Reading**

Reading patterns found in gifted readers can be different than those of typical readers. These kids often start reading earlier than their age peers and demonstrate deeper comprehension of what they read. Kate B.  stated they may be self taught, read faster and be voracious readers.  Justin Schwamm, Latin teacher at Tres Columnae, related that many gifted learners read and enjoy multiple books at once; which can drive others crazy. Moderator, Lisa Conrad, added that it’s still important to respect the developmental process and allow a child to enjoy reading at various levels. Parents should resist the urge to ‘push’ a child to read simply because they excel in other academic areas.

Parent readingParent Reading to Child*

Reading to children was still considered an important role of both the parent and teacher even after children were reading well on their own. Jerry Blumengarten, well known content curator Cybraryman and former teacher, remembered family reading time as enjoyable and an important time to be set aside even after children were reading. When he taught Language Arts, his 9th grade students loved when he read dramatically to them. Jayne Frances reminded us that reading aloud is important for pronunciation of words and sharing more precise or alternate definitions than those gleaned from context. Many also related the importance of emotional bonding that occurs when adults read to children whether it was a parent or teacher.

The popular school reading program ‘Accelerated Reader’ did not fare well in the opinions of many at this chat. This program seemed out-of-sync with high ability learners. Justin Schwamm told us that he was not a fan because extrinsic rewards for an intrinsically-valuable task are problematic at best.

Questions for this chat are here  and a full transcript of this chat can be found at Storify. Links from the chat and additional links are below.  Thank you to all chat participants who shared links with us.

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered byTAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


Search Book Titles by Conceptual/Vocabulary Difficulty Age from Armadillo Soft

67 Books Every Geek Should Read to Their Kids Before Age 10

Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers (Amazon)

Guiding the Gifted Reader (1990)

Reading Lists for Your Gifted Child from Hoagies Gifted

Best-Loved Books: A Unique Reading List for Gifted Students Grades 6-12 (pdf)

Book List for Very Young Precocious Readers (link on bottom right of page)

Book List for Pre-teen Gifted Readers from Suki Wessling

The Challenge of “Challenged Books” Gifted Child Today Magazine Spring, 2002

GT-World Reading Lists

Books for Young Readers from the MN Council for the Gifted & Talented

Appropriate Content for Gifted Readers from Duke TIP

13 Age-Appropriate Books for Young Gifted Readers

Gifted 101: Choosing Books for Your Young Gifted Reader

3 Reasons I Loathe Accelerated Reader from Lisa Van Gemert, The Gifted Guru

Dear Google, You Should Have Talked to Me First from Jen Marten

Reading Lists from Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources

Appropriate Expectations for the Gifted Child from SENG

Slow Down and Look at the Pictures

Early Literacy Page from Cybraryman

Mensa Foundation Excellence in Reading

What Should I Read Next 

Reading List for Key Stage 1 Gifted Readers (pdf) from Potential Plus UK

Reading and Literacy Skills Page from Cybraryman

Books Page from Cybraryman

Newbery Medal Winners 1922 – Present 

Caldecott Medal and Honor Books 1938 – Present

Mrs. Ripp Reads

Additional Links:

Orientation (The School for Gifted Potentials Book 1) by Allis Wade

Revelations (The School for Gifted Potentials Book 2) by Allis Wade

Gifted Readers and Young Adult Literature: A Perfect Match from Duke TIP

Book Lists from Davidson Institute for Talent Development

The Gifted Reader’s Bill of Rights (pdf) by Bertie Kingore

Mind the Gap: Engaging Gifted Readers 

Resources for the Middle School Gifted Reader 

Books for Gifted Readers (Middle School)

Reading Projects for Gifted and Talented Students

Just Because They Can Doesn’t Mean They Should: Choosing Age-Appropriate Books for Literature Circles

*Photos: Courtesy of morgueFile

** Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay

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