Connecting Through Talk: Nurturing Children's Development With Language

Authors: David K. Dickinson Ed.D., Ann B. Morse M.Ed.

Format: Paperback, 264 pages, 6.0 x 9.0
ISBN: 9781681252315
Price: $34.95

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How do responsive adult–child interactions influence early language development? How do a child's language skills develop in tandem with social-emotional development, executive function, and literacy? What are effective ways to help parents support their child's development? Uncover the answers to these questions in this fascinating book, which draws on current research to examine connections between language, social-emotional, and literacy development and profiles effective programs that support this development.

You'll begin with a research-based examination of multiple facets of early childhood development and examine how each one is linked to language development. Explore critical topics such as:

  • How the brain develops in the first years of life
  • Why parent–child attachment is fundamental to early development
  • How executive function skills affect academic achievement and social success
  • What responsive and language-rich parent–child exchanges look like and how they support multiple developmental areas
  • How children begin to understand symbols, establish joint attention, and develop a theory of mind
  • How children learn the building blocks of language and literacy, from phonology to pragmatics
  • What role socioeconomic factors play in early development and intervention
  • Which guiding principles professionals should follow for effective intervention
  • Which economic arguments support early development

Building on this foundational knowledge, the book gives you snapshots of more than a dozen programs that support language and literacy development by coaching parents and providing books for young children. You'll learn how these programs promote thoughtful, responsive adult–child interactions and expand children's access to books, and you'll get brief summaries of the research that demonstrates the success of each program.

Essential reading for researchers, administrators, and educators, this synthesis of science and practical guidance will help you foster foundational language skills and nurture the healthy development of every young child.

SEE IT IN ACTION! Videos demonstrate responsive caregiver–child interactions and show how they support language and literacy development.


Review by: Roberta Golinkoff, Ph.D., Unidel H. Rodney Sharp Professor, University of Delaware
"Bravo! At last a book that captures the range of factors that contributes to early literacy! Passionate about helping children learn to read from the inception of their careers, these authors understand the crucial role that language development plays. This delightful and highly readable book dotted with illustrative anecdotes has captured important findings on emerging literacy and the programs that help it flourish. It is a great read for parents, practitioners, and inquisitive minds who want to understand the science of reading."
Review by: Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., Temple University
"Written by leading scholars, Connecting Through Talk packages the latest research in language development for practitioners. In one book, in digestible and beautifully written prose, we learn how to help all children grow their language skills and enhance their social and academic potential. A must read."
Review by: Timothy Shanahan, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois at Chicago
"How would one gain a deep and coherent understanding of the rich body of research on children's early language development that has accumulated over the past half century? The right answer is, "Read Dickinson and Morse's Connecting Through Talk"; an erudite, well written, engaging, and wise exploration of children's language growth and of the programs designed to encourage it."
Review by: Adriana Bus, Ph.D., University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
"I read this wonderful book by David Dickinson and Ann Morse with great pleasure. Small events have big consequences. The metaphorical butterfly effect is brilliantly analyzed in this important contribution to the literature. The authors make understandable how seeds for social and academic success are planted in the first two years and nourished through toddler and preschool years. Throughout the book, the importance of language is explained. Book reading guarantees that children come across academic or decontextualized language, and that the effects of book reading on language development are similar no matter the SES or educational level of the parents. At the same time, Dickinson and Morse explain how complex it is to introduce book reading routines in families. Language development does not stand on its own, rather it is closely interwoven with other aspects of development and not least with interactions between caregiver and child that reflect the quality of their socio‐emotional bond. Dickinson and Morse's analyses match my own experience that many parents feel overburdened by the request to read every day to their young child. Book reading is not an isolated activity which explains why it is so hard to introduce book reading routines in families."
Review by: Lesley Morrow, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Literacy Development, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
"Congratulations to the authors on a timely and important book about their vast experience with language development. The book provides a comprehensive look at theory, research, programs, and policy concerning langauge growth. Dickinson and Morse include programs that speak to parents, teachers, and pediatricians. Language development predicts literacy acheivement, therefore this global look at the origins of language are a must for those involved in the area of child development. Thank you to the distinguised authors for providing us with this exceptional scholarly document."
Review by: Betty Bardige, Ed.D., Author of Talk to Me, Baby!
"Weaving together intriguing research in social, cognitive, and brain development, this book delivers a powerful message; Rich, complex language—and the steady diet of responsive interactions in infancy and early childhood that supports its development—are key to early and ongoing academic success. It portrays an array of proven and promising programs that are both cost‐effective and scalable, builds our understanding of why they work, and makes a compelling case for public investment in their expansion. A highly recommended and engaging text for students and practitioners of early childhood development, education, public health, and public policy."
Review by: Joshua Sparrow, MD, Harvard Medical School
"This is an eloquent synthesis of the research on early language and literacy development and features an assortment of interventions designed by academics to help parents support their young children's learning."
Review by: James Gee, Ph.D., Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies
"Connecting Through Talk: Nurturing Children's Development with Language is a definitive book on literacy, language development, and child development. The book is based on decades of research, co‐authored by the leading scholar in the field, and is as practical as it is theoretically deep."

Table of Contents

About the Downloads and Videos
About the Authors

Section I  Research on Early Development, Language, and Literacy
Chapter 1  Laying the Foundations: Attachment and Executive Function
Chapter 2  The Brain and the Developing Child
Chapter 3  Joining the Community of Language Users
Chapter 4  Language Systems and Development
Chapter 5  Language Environments and Language Development
Chapter 6  Enlisting Science to Support Families

Section II  Programs Supporting Early Literacy
Parent Coaching Programs
Play and Learning Strategies
Video Interaction Project
Thirty Million Words Project
Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters
Save the Children

Book Giveaway Programs
Reach Out and Read
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
Sifriyat Pijama and Maktabat al-Fanoos
Family Reading Partnership

Emerging Programs
Promising Emerging Programs
 The Juniper Gardens Childrens Project
 Háblame Bebé
 Providence Talks
 Project beELL
 Bridging the Word Gap National Research Network
 Children's Learning Institute's Interventions to Support Preschool Teachers and Parents
 The Campaign for Grade Level Reading
 Five Steps to Five

Section III  Putting It All Together
Chapter 7  The Economics of Providing Support in the Early Years


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