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 perseverance? 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.
Listen to the interview on New Books in Education.
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