DISCLAIMER: I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I am very passionate about children's literacy and improving the vocabulary, language skills, and reading capabilities of young people. So when I saw this book, I knew it was right up my alley.
Dana Suskind is a cochlear implant surgeon and the book starts off with her stressing the importance for infants to hear correctly. She recounts two surgeries she performed and the difference in the results which perplexed her. After further investigation, she found her answer in the home life of each patient. The book spends a good bit talking about the variation of the quantity and quality of words heard by infants in professional homes, middle-class homes, and welfare homes and the results are unbelievable.
Quantity refers to how many words are spoken to the infant and quality tells if those words are encouraging or discouraging and again these results will blow you away. I don't want to give away the answers but this was definitely my favorite part of the book. But the sad truth is that Dana Suskind starts her book off strong - really strong - but begins to falter as it progresses.
The middle part of the book talks about the three-T's: Tune In, Talk More, Take Turns, as a way to interact with your child better. Instead of praising your child on their innate abilities ("You aced that test because you're so smart!") you should praise them on their effort and process ("You really studied hard and because of it you made a great grade!") Also it speaks on how to really open up your child's vocabulary by giving your child a very detailed play-by-play of what you are doing. The more words, the better! This section is really fascinating but unfortunately the writing begins to suffer here. The text becomes more of boring lecturer that just drones on and on about their topic. However, there is some fascinating information in here that every parent should read.
The book ends talking about America's greatest undeveloped resource, its children. It discusses different programs in place to encourage children to read and gives some examples and testimonies of people who benefited from them. Again, lots of good information that suffers do to poor writing.
Overall the book is a solid read. It reminds me of the time I was in west Arkansas diamond hunting - I had to dig through a lot of dirt to find some good stuff (even though I left that day empty handed, I certainly didn't leave this book that way).
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.