Promoting the importance of pre-literacy skills for later learning
At a Loss for Words
How America Is Failing Our Children and What We Can Do about It
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Betty Bardige, foreword by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.
Drawing on the latest research on development among toddlers and preschoolers, At a Loss for Words lays out the importance of getting parents, policy makers, and child care providers to recognize the role of early literacy skills in reducing the achievement gap that begins before three years of age. Readers are guided through home and classroom settings that promote language, contrasting them with the "merely mediocre" child care settings in which more and more young children spend increasing amounts of time. Too many of our young children are not receiving the level of input and practice that will enable them to acquire language skillsthe key to success in school and life. Bardige explains how to build better community support systems for children, and better public education, in order to ensure that toddlers learn the power of language from their families and teachers.
"This book is essential reading for scholars, parents, and child caregivers. The author splendidly integrates decades of research to make the convincing case that our society's nurturance of the young is inadequate. To improve the rearing of our children, the first step is arming ourselves with both the knowledge and recommendations presented in this book."
"At a Loss for Words provides an urgent argument for infants and toddlers to experience language in an interactive, relational way to establish crucial language skills. Bardige offers guidance on what worksat home and in society. This is must reading for everyone concerned about our children's future."
"Bardige has written an effective blend of introductory text and instructional manual for parents, educators, advocates, and anyone else who might care about the crucial role of language in early childhood development... Highly recommended."
"...examines the importance of getting parents, policymakers and child care providers to recognize the role of early literacy skills before age three."
"Bardige's book is a timely examination of how vocabulary development impacts young children's success in school.... [It] is a powerful argument for better funding of quality childcare and early childhood education programs... Policy makers, program designers, teacher educators, teachers and childcare providers will be able to use this book as a rich resource."
"It's full of interesting, yet sobering, information about our nation's literacy rates, as well as encouraging strategies for how parents, policy makers, and childcare providers can ensure that all children gain strong language skills early in life."
"[A] complete and compelling assessment of the critical importance of very early childhood learning.... Parents will find At a Loss for Words a helpful guide filled with practical tips for enjoyable ways to improve home education in language skills for their young children."
Foreword T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.
Part I. Every Child's Birthright
Part II. The Quiet Crisis
Part III: Changing Course
Appendix: Resources and Connections for Parents, Policy Makers, and Advocates