I encourage/implore you to read about and listen to Dr. Dana Suskind as she talks about the urgency of helping young children learn by talking! I have recently purchased her 2015 book, Thirty Million Words and will offer future posts on her work and ideas from the book.
Dr. Suskind’s 50 minute video on 30 Million Words
A few additional resources
Dr. Dana Suskind, a surgeon at the U of Chicago and founder of the Thirty Million Words Initiative, as reported in USA Today/Burlington Free Press on Sunday October 18 2015.
A short excerpt from the article by Kim Painter.
“In a new book, Thirty Million Words: Building a child’s Brain, Suskind says she first encountered the apparent effects of the word gap among deaf children she treated with cochlear implants. In general, she says, those from poorer homes struggled much more to develop language and other skills.
Her hope is that teaching parents and other caregivers to talk more, and talk more effectively, will help all sorts of children reach their potential….”
As a starting point, she recommends three simple guidelines:
“Tune In: Notice what the child is focused on and talk about that. Respond when a child communicates –including when a baby cries or coos.
Talk More: Narrate day to day routines, such as diaper changes and tooth brushing. Use details “Let Mommy takes off your diaper. Oh, so wet.”
Take Turns: Keep the conversation going. Respond to your child’s sounds, gestures and, eventually, words—and give him or her time to respond to you. Ask lots of questions that require more than yes or no answers.”
Dr. Suskind’s interview on public radio
Q and A with Dr. Suskind