1st Edition

Teaching Higher-Order Thinking to Young Learners, K-3 How to Develop Sharp Minds for the Disinformation Age

By Steffen Saifer Copyright 2025
    264 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    264 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    To be truly educated today, students need more than knowledge; they need higher-order thinking skills. Critical and creative thinking is required to recognize and counter disinformation, to overcome thinking errors, and for success in school and life. To effectively teach these skills, we must start early, when young minds are still forming. While K-3 students are capable of higher-order thinking, most lessons only engage their lower-order thinking. In this comprehensive book based on sound science, Dr. Saifer offers many practical and engaging ways to develop students’ logical, critical, and creative thinking skills within nearly every lesson, in all subject areas, and throughout the day. Teaching Higher-Order Thinking to Young Learners is key reading for any early childhood teacher, leader, or parent.

    Table of Figures

    Meet the Author




    Part 1. Thinking about Thinking

    Chapter 1. An Educational Imperative

    Chapter 2. Types of Thinking Skills: The Tools in Our Head

    Chapter 3. Lower-Order Thinking (LOT) Skills: Functional . . . If Not Always Fun

    Chapter 4. Middle-Order Thinking (MOT) Skills: Only a Path, but the Only Path, to Wisdom 

    Chapter 5. Higher-Order Thinking (HOT) Skills: Instruments of Insight, Innovation, and Invention

    Critical Thinking Skills: More than Meets the Eye

    Creative Thinking Skills: The Sky’s the Limit

    Chapter 6. Thought Processes: Common Tasks, Uncommon Thinking

    Part 2. Learning to Think, Thinking to Learn

    Chapter 7. Higher-order Thinking in Action: Supports and Challenges

    Chapter 8. HOT Teaching Precepts: Head, Heart, and Humor   

    Chapter 9. HOT Teaching Methods: Context, Cognition, and Creativity

    Chapter 10. HOT Instructional Supports:  Sparks, Similes, and Smiles

    Chapter 11. Teaching Reading and Writing with Higher-Order Thinking: Yearning to Learn



    Steffen Saifer, EdD, a former teacher and administrator, is an international consultant and writer. He is the author of Practical Solutions to Practically Every Problem: The Survival Guide for Early Childhood Professionals, now in its third edition.

    For educators who think that they cannot implement higher-order thinking with primary children, the author simply dispels the myth. Using real examples, snapshots, and the modeling of high expectations for the abilities of students, the author is very thorough and has considered thinking skills not normally implemented in a primary classroom. Now more than ever students need to be able to think critically. –Susan Jaroscak, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Maple Heights City Schools, Ohio, USA


    Any educator would benefit from the research, examples and activities outlined in this book. I especially appreciated the book being broken into two sections and the delineation between theory and practice. By the time I finished section one, I felt motivated to provide more higher order thinking activities. The most appealing feature of this book is that you can read about why higher order thinking is valuable and then immediately have a guidebook of how to get your students there. –Kelly Carter, Early Childhood Education Specialist, Oklahoma, USA