We may disagree about whether phonics or whole language is the better approach to reading instruction or whether bilingual education or English immersion is the better way to support English language learners. Whatever our opinions are, they are founded on the perceived immediate impact on students in school. But how might the way we use language with children years before they enter school affect their academic potential? Does it have the ability to improve more than their vocabulary? Can it foster creativity, empathy, and perserverence? In Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain (Dutton, 2015), Dr. Dana Suskind outlines research on the critical language period and connects it to an early-childhood curriculum and a series of public policy solutions.
Suskind joins New Books in Education for the interview. You can find more information about her work with the Thirty Million Words Initiative on its website. To share your thoughts on the podcast, you can connect with heron Twitter at @DrDanaSuskind. You can reach the host on Twitter at @tsmattea.
Trevor Mattea is an educational consultant and speaker. His areas of expertise include deeper learning, parent involvement, project-based learning, and technology integration. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @tsmattea.