This information was produced by the staff of the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development (B-BC) at the University of Iowa ( The resources and information listed here are for informational purposes; there is no direct or implied endorsement by the B-BC. Services provided by the B-BC include programs for academically talented K-12 and college students, professional development for teachers, the Assessment and Counseling Clinic, the Acceleration Institute (, and graduate programs and research in gifted education.


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Annotated Bibliography

Articles are listed in descending order by year (most recent first), and then by first author's last name.

Case Studies

Kumekawa, P. (2008). A road taken: One family's journey through an educational system. Understanding Our Gifted, 20(2), 14-16.

The author's 12-year-old 8th grader took the bulk of his classes at their local high school. To maintain contact with his age peers, he was bused to the middle school two days a week to eat lunch with his friends, practice in the school band, and take gym and health classes. This was part of a succession of unique acceleration strategies created each year. The efforts to accommodate his academic needs within their school system were born out of a combination of circumstance, luck, and cooperation. Though the path was not always smooth, her son was well served academically in their town. And through it all, with willing and, at times, not-so-willing teachers and administrators, the author and her husband came to realize that a child's intelligence alone is likely not enough. It is also helpful if the child possesses social awareness, humor, and confidence. The author and her husband feel extremely fortunate about the experience provided by their school system. Their community has a wide spectrum of income levels, and they think this diversity contributes significantly to the tolerance that is evident in all of their town's school environments. The educational experience for their son engendered a heightened awareness of the process of change and compromise, helping him develop as an individual and maintain a healthy attitude in many other  areas of his life. He is now a senior who has essentially exhausted his high school's courses. Yet, with considerations and endorsement of current administrators he is able to pursue independent studies with outstanding teachers, a college course, and an off-campus internship while remaining active in high school activities.

Lloyd-Zannini, L. (2008). Emily & Jacob and your child, too: Accelerating in language arts. Understanding Our Gifted, 20(2), 9-13.

This paper discusses multiple alternatives to the challenges of finding appropriate educational placements for gifted children. Using a case study approach, the author introduces Emily and Jacob, two kindergarten students reading at the 3rd grade level. Despite their high levels of achievement, the two have different ability profiles; while Emily was affectively mature and had advanced motor skills, Jacob was less advanced in these areas. These different profiles influenced their academic placement; Emily was placed into the 3rd grade class and Jacob divided his time between the preschool class and 3rd grade language arts. The author notes that both students were successful in their placements, part of which can be attributed to using diagnostic-prescriptive instruction. In this approach, teachers individualize instruction based on the results of specific diagnostic tests that students take, resulting in well-designed acceleration. The author concludes by offering suggestions for both parents and teachers, ranging from encouraging children to read a wide variety of books at home to advocating for students.

Muratori, M. C., Stanley, J. C., Gross, M. U. M., Ng, L., Tao, T., Ng, J., et al. (2006). Insights from SMPY's greatest former child prodigies: Drs. Terence ("Terry") Tao and Lenhard ("Lenny") Ng reflect on their talent development. Gifted Child Quarterly, 50(4), 307-324.

If the academic needs of the most profoundly gifted students can be met through the use of existing educational practices, specialists in gifted education can assume that the educational needs of less able, but still academically talented, students can also be met by using some combination of these strategies as well. This paper illustrates the feasibility and effectiveness of utilizing an individualized educational approach with gifted students by highlighting the unique educational paths taken by two of the very ablest math prodigies identified by Dr. Julian Stanley through the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) since its founding in 1971. Interviews with Dr. Terence ("Terry") Tao and Dr. Lenhard ("Lenny") Ng, now both highly successful mathematicians, are presented in their entirety, demonstrating that even among the very ablest, strategies can be tailored effectively to the characteristics of each student through a combination of creative planning and the cooperation of parents, educators, and mentors.

Moore, N. D. (2002). The progress and problems of an incredibly talented sister and brother. Roeper Review, 24(3), 137-140.

This case study is an overview of the educational and developmental histories of a rare sister and brother pair with exceptional mathematical reasoning ability, both of whom were identified by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at Johns Hopkins University. In particular, this case study describes their family’s struggles to convince the school to accelerate their children and to provide them with an education appropriate to their needs.

Merlin, D. (1996). Continued adventures in acceleration. The high school experience: A mother's perspective. Gifted Child Today Magazine, 19(3), 24-25, 42-45.

A mother reviews the radical acceleration of her high school daughter who will enter college at the age of 14. She recounts both positive and negative experiences during elementary and middle school, the encouragement of individual educators, flexible scheduling to allow taking advanced courses at other institutions, and barriers of school system regulations. Suggestions are offered to parents.

Sharkey, O. C. (1987). Tony Lai, age 14, B.Sc., prodigy. Roeper Review, 10(2), 94-96.

This is an analysis of the development of a prodigy. Tony arrived at university at 11 years of age after five years of school. Three years later he graduated with a B.Sc. and the Governor General's Medal for the highest marks in four years of university. He entered graduate school a half-year later and in his first five courses, had marks from 90% to 100%. He seemed to play a major role in his own development, but this was aided and abetted by very sensitive support from his parents. He was very much a self-starter and very persistent. He developed a pleasant personality and is quite appropriately sensitive in social situations.

Hermann, K. E., & Stanley, J. C. (1983). Thoughts on nonrational precocity: An exchange. Gifted Child Today, 30, 30-36.

A former child "prodigy" recounts her experiences at school to suggest that intellectual achievement is not always due to extraordinary analytic reasoning ability and that precocity may be nonrational. J. Stanley responds by citing others' work on the topic and suggesting the construct may not survive strong scrutiny.

Moore, N. D. (1982). The joys and challenges in raising a gifted child. Gifted Child Today, 25, 8-11.

This article details a mother's experiences trying to access appropriate educational options for her profoundly gifted daughter. In particular, the author defends the practice of acceleration. She concludes with a handful of brief tips for parents.

The article can be found here.

Montour, K. (1977). William James Sidis: The broken twig. American Psychologist, 32(4), 265-279.

The case history of William James Sidis is as concerned with the adverse impact his sorry example has had on special education for the intellectually gifted as it is with the dynamics that led to his tragic outcome. Sidis, the archetypal father-exploited prodigy, is examined in his social and historical context and is contrasted to another famous prodigy who had a similar background, Norbert Wiener. By presenting cases of prodigies who entered college as early as Sidis but who succeeded, the author attempts to dissuade the public from its opposition to educational acceleration for precocious children, to which the "Sidis fallacy" has helped give rise.