Thirty Million Words by Dana Suskind is about the literacy project of the same name that focuses on improving children’s access to language from day one. In the first three years of life, children should hear 30 million words to improve their chances for learning and growth for their entire life!
I enjoyed reading the research and hearing the personal stories from the authors about ways in which a broad exposure to vocabulary helps children for many years. It was fascinating to learn how exposure to language in the first years makes such a difference in all the years that follow. It is not preschool or early intervention programs that make a difference: rather, the change comes when kids were exposed before the age of three!
After sharing the studies and research that has proven their point, the authors then provide ideas on how parents can help their children be exposed to even more language from the start. Their three-fold mission emphasizes the need to “tune in” (that is, pay attention), “talk more” (that is, narrate regular daily life), and “take turns” (that is, listen and respond to the noises and words the child makes). I loved this reminder. Since I have a new baby right now, I’ve delighted in seeking extra ways to interact with her.
The sweet smiles she gives me in return are a fine reward for the time I take to try and expose her to 30,000,000 words before her third birthday!
Thirty Million Words is highly recommended!
Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.