The Child as Thinker: The Development and Acquisition of Cognition in Childhood, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Child as Thinker

The Development and Acquisition of Cognition in Childhood, 2nd Edition

By Sara Meadows, Sara Meadows


632 pages

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This second edition of The Child as Thinker has been thoroughly revised and updated to provide an informed and accessible overview of the varied and extensive literature on children's cognition. Both theory and research data are critically examined and educational implications are discussed.

After a brief discussion of the nature and subject of cognition, Sara Meadows reviews children's thinking in detail. She discusses the ways children remember and organise information in general, the acquisition of skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic, and the development of more complex reasoning as children grow to maturity. As well as studies that typically describe a generalised child, the book also reviews some of the main areas relevant to individual differences in normal cognitive development, and critically examines three major models of cognitive development. In outlining the work of Piaget, information-processing accounts and neo-Vygotskian theories, she also evaluates their different explanations of cognitive development and their implications for education. Finally, the book examines biological and social factors that may be involved in normal and suboptimal cognitive development.

Sara Meadows provides an important review of the crucial issues involved in understanding cognitive development and of the new data and models that have emerged in the last few years. This book brings together areas and approaches that have hitherto been independent, and examines their strengths and weaknesses. The Child as Thinker is essential reading for all students of cognitive development.


"This is one of the best books I have read in this field for a long time." - Julian Elliott, Durham University, UK

"I think that this is an excellent book. It covers a wide range of topics and research and presents them all in a coherent, attractive and highly readable way. It fills a need for an easy-to-read but intellectually respectable account of cognitive development." - Peter Bryant FRS, Visiting Professor at Oxford Brookes University, UK

"The author’s enthusiasm and drive to understand cognitive development results in a work which seeks to relate and integrate research in the (sometimes) disparate research areas within the field. Her approach offers the student an insight into the relationships between the different issues and themes and, as such, makes a valuable contribution to the academic bookshelf. Throughout the book, new ideas have been seamlessly included alongside material from the original edition." - Steve Croker, University of Derby, UK

Table of Contents

Introduction. Descriptive Studies of Children’s Cognitive Skills and Knowledge. Individual Differences in Cognitive Development. Models of Cognition in Childhood: Metaphors, Achievements and Problems. Causes of Change and Variation in Cognitive Development. Teaching Thinking. Questions, Problems – and Possibilities.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Child
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology