GRIT has been around since our founding fathers established America. It is the character in which America was built.  It is what brought them here through all their hardships.  GRIT isn’t anything new, but it is a new buzz word used frequently to describe character or lack of it in children. It matters more than cognitive skills, because when a child has GRIT, the cognitive skills are learned easier.  So, what is GRIT?

What is GRIT?

G= Gumption- Not giving up.  To keep trying.

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

R= Resiliency- When faced with a set back, the ability to attack the problem from a new angle.  To get back up when knocked down.

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

I = Integrity- Follow through.  Your yes is yes and your no is no.  You keep your word.  Your actions match your words.  Conscientious and trustworthy.

T= Tenacity- To keep going…  similar to gumption- but gumption is overcoming fear and doing something, action toward a task or goal.  Tenacity is the ability to not give up until the task is completed or a goal is reached. Perseverance.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Thomas A. Edison

According to an on-line dictionary, grit’s number two definition is as follows:

firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck

Where did the idea of grit come from?

Researcher, “Angela Duckworth introduced the idea of “grit” after her study showed people with high levels of grit were more likely to be successful in life. She defined “Grit” as “passion and perseverance toward very long term goals.” (You can find her famous TED talk about grit here.)”1

Anyone that works with children or raises children agree that all kids need grit to succeed.  In fact, grit is a precursor to a happy, healthy, productive life.  Can kids get grit, or are they born with it?  Good news!  Children can get grit.

How to Establish GRIT in Children

  1.  It begins at birth.  The first five years of a child’s life is extremely formative nurture, gritand developing grit begins here.  By developing grit, it develops greater cognitive skills too.  According to Paul Tough the author of How Children Succeed, nurturing a child, meeting their needs with a loving tone of voice, and reducing the stress in their lives caused by violence and poverty leads to grit.  Grit and literacy have everything to do with each other; they are developed best in the first five years of a child’s life.
  2. So, for the first five years of a child’s life develop a read aloud habit that will continue on through their teen years.  The benefits of reading aloud are all the components needed to establish grit.  The stories read aloud role model characters with grit.  The time spent with a child reading aloud is nurturing and bonding. grit
  3. If you have older children and you may or may not have read aloud to them, no worries. There is still good news.  You can grow grit.  Read aloud starting today.  Also, this article has some fabulous tips of how to establish grit in children. Just start where you are at today.

Reading aloud to your children is the single most important thing you do to set them up for future success.  Not only does it develop literacy skills, it develops grit.

Do you want more GRIT for your kids?  Of course you do!  Start today.  Just hold them tight, nurture and guide them, pick up a book and read aloud to them and you will see their gritty character grow.

“Live the Life of Your Dreams
When you start living the life of your dreams, there will always be obstacles, doubters, mistakes and setbacks along the way. But with hard work, perseverance and self-belief there is no limit to what you can achieve.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Let’s make a positive difference~ one word at a time.


Please share this article with others that you think would benefit from these tips. Also, please ask any questions that you may have about teaching children reading or writing. Leave your questions in the comments. I’ll answer.

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