At a Loss for Words: How America Is Failing Our Children and What We Can Do about It

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Drawing on the latest research on development among toddlers and preschoolers, At a Loss for Words lays out the importance of getting parents, policy makers, and child care providers to recognize the role of early literacy skills in reducing the achievement gap that begins before three years of age. Readers are guided through home and classroom settings that promote language, contrasting them with the merely mediocre child care settings in which more and more young children spend increasing amounts of time. Too many of our young children are not receiving the level of input and practice that will enable them to acquire language skills-the key to success in school and life. Bardige explains how to build better community support systems for children, and better public education, in order to ensure that toddlers learn the power of language from their families and teachers.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In a cautious but hopeful tone, developmental psychologist Bardige (All About Child Care and Early Education) has written an effective blend of introductory text and instructional manual for parents, educators, advocates, and anyone else who might care about the crucial role of language in early child development. The book opens with a foreword by "the nation's pediatrician," T. Berry Brazelton, who shares the author's belief that the acquisition and use of a rich vocabulary by age four are absolutely necessary to a child's intellectual and social development. Drawing on statistics, surveys, case studies, personal stories, and examples of successful programs, Bardige argues throughout that with so many young American children spending a major portion of their days with nonparental adults, it is vital that these adults actively support early language development. In order to do so, she insists, they must be properly trained and compensated, which today is the exception rather than the rule. Leavening this somewhat gloomy assessment with countless practical suggestions for parents and other caregivers, she concludes with an annotated list of helpful organizations and resources. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries as well as all childcare settings.-M.C. Duhig, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592133932
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2005
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Jack and Jill 3
2 Prime time for language learning 21
3 Why early language matters 32
4 Supporting early language at home 49
5 Supporting early language in group care 59
6 You don't speak my language 74
7 The state of early care and education in the United States 89
8 A perfect storm 101
9 Truth, justice, and the American way 115
10 A parent's guide to early childhood programs and policy 127
11 Supporting parents 144
12 Improving programs for children 158
13 Building systems that sustain quality 170
14 We can get there from here 187
App Resources and connections for parents, policy makers, and advocates 205
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2005


    I have just read ¿At a Loss for Words¿ by Betty Bardige. It is a truly remarkable book. It accomplishes the rare feat of describing the importance of early language development and of showing the linkage between early language development and policy issues. ¿At a Loss for Words¿ is beautifully written, compelling and convincing. It is a book that should be read by any one interested in child development and concerned about the future of their country. Hopefully, ¿At a Loss for Words¿ will be read by policy makers who will impact the resources assigned to programs servicing families with children.

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