One of the major milestones we all look forward to is when we can communicate with our children. If you are interested in learning more activities that can help build strong language skills, have questions about what to look for in a day care or home care situation to optimize language development, or are curious how exposure to multiple languages may affect your child's language development, I highly recommend the just-launched book Beyond Baby Talk: From Speaking to Spelling. The book is written by two doctors in collaboration with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association as a resource for parents and caregivers.
As a disclaimer, language development is a topic I have been particularly interested in for some time. As an undergraduate in college I actually worked as a research assistant on a study of language development in twins, the purpose of which was to determine how twins learn language differently than singletons. As a result of some of my background on the topic and other reading I have done, I was particularly excited to read this book.
My Thoughts on Beyond Baby Talk: In my opinion, the book was fantastic, I read it cover to cover in one sitting. The book follows a chronological timeline of the child's development and pinpoints the normal range for when major language development milestones should be reached and how you can gauge your child's progress.
Whereas many parenting books can become dry when attempting to translate the results of scientific studies into something readable, in Beyond Baby Talk, many of the topics were depicted using the author's experiences with their own children as examples throughout the book, instantly making things more readable and engaging.
There were several excellent points covered in the book that I wanted to highlight:
- Language development is truly amazing when you step back and think about it. Our children go through an incredible language and communication evolution in their first 6 years.
- Most children can learn two languages as easily as they can learn one.
- What to look for in a day care or home care situation if you do not stay at home with your children.
- Passive language development like using books on tape or watching television is simply not an effective method for toddlers or young children to learn language effectively.
- There are noticeable signs of language and literacy progress problems that a parent should be aware of with identifiable resources of where to begin: the first place to start is usually your pediatrician.
- There is simply no substitute for reading to your children. A parent can offer no richer of a language development opportunity to children than to simply read to them each day.
Disclosure: I received 1 copy of the book to facilitate this post, however the thoughts and opinions provided are my own and not influenced by anyone else. I did not receive any compensation for this post.