1st Edition

Cognitive Development for Academic Achievement Building Skills and Motivation

By James P. Byrnes Copyright 2021

    This integrative text spotlights what educators need to know about children's cognitive development across grade levels (PreK-12) and content areas. The book provides a concise introduction to developmental neuroscience and theories of learning. Chapters on general cognitive abilities probe such crucial questions as what children are capable of remembering at different ages, what explains differences in effort and persistence, and how intelligence and aptitudes relate to learning. Domain-specific chapters focus on the development of key academic skills in reading, writing, math, science, and history. Multiple influences on academic achievement and motivation are explored, including school, family, cultural, and socioeconomic factors. Each chapter concludes with clear implications for curriculum and instruction.

    I. Foundations
    1. Introductory Issues
    2. Brain Development and Cognitive Neuroscience
    II. Domain-General Theories of Cognitive Skills and Motivation
    3. Domain-General Theories of Learning
    4. Memory Development
    5. The Nature and Development of Motivation
    6. Executive Function and Self-Regulation
    7. The Development of Intelligence, Aptitude, and Expertise
    8. The Development of Spoken Language Competence
    III. Domain-Specific Academic Skills
    9. The Development of Beginning Reading Skills
    10. The Development of Reading Comprehension Skills
    11. The Development of Writing Skills
    12. The Development of Mathematical Competence
    13. The Development of Scientific Reasoning Skills
    14. The Development of Historical Understanding
    IV. Conclusions
    15. Putting It All Together: An Opportunity−Propensity Model of Achievement


    James P. Byrnes, PhD, is Professor of Educational Psychology and Applied Developmental Science in the College of Education at Temple University. He was a Fellow of Division 15 (Educational Psychology) of the American Psychological Association between 2002 and 2018, has served as Vice President of the Jean Piaget Society, and was Associate Editor of the Journal of Cognition and Development. Dr. Byrnes has published over 100 books, chapters, and articles on areas of cognitive development, including language development, logical reasoning, and mathematical learning. His most recent work has focused primarily on developing and testing a comprehensive theoretical model of academic achievement (the opportunity–propensity model) in order to provide insight into ways to eliminate or substantially reduce gender, ethnic, and racial gaps in achievement. Dr. Byrnes has received awards for his teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.

    "This book is unique. It offers a truly integrative perspective on education and cognitive development. No other book has the combination of depth, breadth, and accessibility. The book would be appropriate for classes in cognitive development, educational psychology, curriculum and instruction, and many more. Byrnes seamlessly crosses levels of analysis, and his discussion of the neural foundations of cognition, development, and education is superb."--David H. Uttal, PhD, School of Education and Social Policy and Department of Psychology, Northwestern University

    "This book is very successful in providing an accessible, comprehensive developmental understanding of how children learn in general and in specific academic subject areas. Every chapter synthesizes a huge body of educationally relevant work and ends with implications for teachers. The book highlights the large gap between what is known about effective instructional approaches and what actually happens in classrooms, providing direction to stakeholders. It is enjoyable to read. I recommend this book as a text for educational psychology courses and a resource for anyone interested in reducing the achievement gap between low- and high-income students."--Marla R. Brassard, PhD, Professor Emerita of Psychology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

    "As a professor, one of the most challenging courses in a teacher certification program is the required psychology course. Students come with a strong goal in mind--to learn how to teach--and they are not very interested in isolated psychology theories. This book presents the major psychology theories and concepts, explains which ones are currently accepted and why, and, most important, provides a direct connection to the practice of teaching. It is easy to read and understand. I wish this text had been available when I was teaching this course!"--Mitchell Rabinowitz, PhD, Graduate School of Education, Fordham University-