A: There are many traits and I'm sure each and every parent could gush about. I will not talk about my two kids. I believe that every child is bright on his or her own terms. This world runs by grading and ranking, so we can't get away from that. The question is how each child discovers what they enjoy doing - something that gives them confidence and satisfaction. Another remarkable element is curiosity. This ignites learning. Rather than tell them what they need to know, we have to allow curiosity to get the best of them. Adults stop learning when they stop being curious. Boredom, inertia, and inactivity quickly follow.
A: I would call this the oppression of the majority. Some linguists and experts many years ago decided how a word should be spelled. English is so diverse and convoluted in patterns and rules, it is often hopeless to learn the right spelling, let alone the meaning of 200,000 words or more. It almost is unfair, because the sound of the pronunciation often is unavailing when spelling and making an honest attempt at those unsightly "sight" words. Misspelling is embarrassing. Spelling is a discipline, just as vocabulary. But when it emerges from a social and interactive game, people don't have to stop having fun with words once they leave high school.
A: Literacy - in every sense and venue. It enables one to survive and enjoy living and working. Illiteracy is like visual impairment or blindness in a way. It can broadside you in frustrating and even harmful ways. Earning a living often depends on literacy, but even more important is that health depends on literacy. Immigrants, the learning disabled, the poverty-stricken -- all need that boost of capability and confidence. It is the challenge and the opportunity to volunteer a boost for all of them. It is all about the proverb of teaching a person how to fish, which is a skill to stay with them for life. That is the essence of reading - and that emerges only from spelling and word meanings.