Here’s an example of how our brain takes in information in ‘nonverbal’ ways: Many years ago my sister and I were investigating a creekbed at our summer cottage. We felt the smooth stones and cold water on our feet as we hunted for yellow popping flowers, when suddenly we were covered with spray from an animal we’d never noticed before. Our initial curiosity about plants, which didn’t need words to be experienced, was replaced with a very pervasive scent experience, which also did not need words to be experienced. Language or not, we’d had a very strong experience. Later that evening, our clothes buried, we got to see bats flying over our tent that served as an outdoor bedroom until a mixture of time and washing with floating Ivory soap in the lake returned us to our pre-skunk condition.
We experienced what happened to us through our senses --sight, sound, scent, feeling, motion. In the world of education we describe these sensory-input avenues as Multi Modal.
Both idyllic flower hunt and skunkspray reaction had multimodal non-verbal expression from smiles to screams, from sauntering to shocked stillness leading to crazed running, from open to closed noses and eyes, from feeling smooth stones and mosses in the creekbed to smashing over roots and rocks.
Here comes an example of our use of ‘word/verbal intelligence’. Now decades later I share our adventure by using words, putting the words into writing. By use of your word/verbal intelligence, you understand and maybe even relate to my story. Reading about this experience uses words - one modality. If your verbal/word thinking intelligence is strong enough you can comprehend by picturing what happened.
Those with strong ‘picture/nonverbal intelligence’ who struggle with words (how to say them, what they mean) are blocked from experiencing, understanding, thinking about, and sharing what goes on around us and within us when the events and ideas are provided solely in word format.
Most approaches to helping with reading and writing continue using ‘word/verbal intelligence’ – the weak area of the brain. By understanding and being given tools to use our ‘picture/nonverbal intelligence’, people who struggled when given tools limited to ‘word/verbal intelligence’, can and do have access to and can succeed in the world of words. The Davis approach helps people succeed because of, not despite their way of thinking.