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Social World of Children Learning to Talk / Edition 1

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Overview

Based on unparalled data from 2-1/2 years of observing the everyday interactions of 1- and 2-year-old children learning to talk in their own homes, Hart and Risley have charted the month-by-month growth of the children's vocabulary, utterances, and use of grammatical structures. The compelling narrative highlights reliability-tested research findings and is supplemented with numerous transcripts from observations and a list of 2,000 words of children's expressive vocabulary from 19-36 months of age. This book is must-reading for professionals in speech and language, child development, psychology, and education who need to understand how children come to talk as much and as well as their parents and caregivers.

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Editorial Reviews

JASH

"[An] important contribution to the understanding of children's communication in everyday settings. It is a book well worth reading and owning as a resource."

Topics in Early Childhood Special Education

"I sincerely believe that Learning to Talk will be an excellent addition to an early childhood special educator's professional library."

From the Publisher

"[An] important contribution to the understanding of children's communication in everyday settings. It is a book well worth reading and owning as a resource."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557664204
  • Publisher: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 301
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Betty Hart, Ph.D., began her career in the early 1960s at the Institute for Child Development at the University of Washington, where she participated in the original demonstrations of the power of learning principles in influencing young children. With Montrose Wolf and Todd Risley, she introduced the basic procedures of adult attention and time-out now routinely taught and used in teaching and parenting. She also helped introduce the procedures for shaping speech and language widely used in special education. In 1965, she and Todd Risley began more than 35 years of collaborative work at the University of Kansas, when they established preschool intervention programs in poverty neighborhoods in Kansas City. Their study of what children actually do and say in day care and preschool and their publications on incidental teaching from the empirical base for contemporary child-centered teaching practices in preschool and special education. Dr. Hart is now Professor Emeritus of Human Development at The University of Kansas, and Senior Scientist at the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies at The University of Kansas. She has remained focused on the language development of preschool children.

Todd R. Risley, Ph.D., began his career in the early 1960s at the Institute for Child Development at the University of Washington, where he participated in the original demonstrations of the power of learning principles in influencing young children. With Montrose Wolf and Betty Hart, he introduced the basic procedures of adult attention and time-out now routinely taught and used in teaching and parenting. He also helped introduce the procedures for shaping speech and language widely used in special education. In 1965, Hart and Risley began more than 35 years of collaborative work at the University of Kansas, when they established preschool intervention programs in poverty neighborhoods in Kansas City. Their study of what children actually do and say in day care and preschool and their publications on incidental teaching from the empirical base for contemporary child-centered teaching practices in preschool and special education. Before his death in 2007, Dr. Risley was Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Alaska and Senior Scientist at the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies at The University of Kansas. He served on many national boards and commissions, as Editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, as President of the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy and of the behavioral division of the American Psychological Association, and as Alaska's Director of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.

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Read an Excerpt

The Social Dance of American Family Life

It is often said that children take an active part in learning to talk. The purpose of this book is to tell about that part. In successive chapters we describe what children do as they learn to act as partners in the social dance that is talking between parents and children, and how interactions change as baby talk turns into back-talk. We describe the pattern of change as the reciprocal responses of turn taking become coordinated contributions to conversation such that even when parents and children are engaged in independent tasks, they can stay and play in a dance of talking.

We are able to describe the gradual development of talking as a social dance because of the longitudinal data we collected on the everyday lives of young American children. Each month for 2-1/2 years we recorded in their homes the interactions between 42 children and their parents as the children learned to talk. We spent 10 more years creating and verifying an immense computer database in order both to preserve the priceless gift of these families' willingness to be watched and to ensure that the database would be one of a kind in the depth and scientific integrity of its information about the everyday experience of young American children. This book refines what is already known about language development by giving a fuller description based on more complete data from a much larger group of children in families more varied in size, race, and socioeconomic status (SES). But more important, this book also adds information previously unknown: a description of the social world of ambient conversation and casual interaction in which language development proceeds.

We undertook the longitudinal observations to discover what was happening to children during their first 3 years of life. We could find studies of families with special needs, families having physical, marital, or mental problems, and families subject to societal intervention related to neglect and abuse. We could find astonishingly few data, however, concerning what actually goes on in the daily lives of the well-functioning families that are the stable, unremarkable majority of Americans. As specialists in clinical language intervention, we were well aware of how different children are in terms of language resources by age 4, but we found far more theories than facts that would explain why some 4-year-olds were performing so much more proficiently than others on verbal/cognitive tasks. We assumed, wrongly as it turned out, that the early experience of most children in ordinary American families was very similar to what we and our college-educated colleagues had experienced growing up. We designed a study to measure children's early experience and find out how much talking ordinary families actually do and how often and about what parents interact with 1- to 2-year-olds in the course of taking care of their household tasks.

Even after 2-1/2 years of observing the daily lives of 42 ordinary families that all were similarly socializing their children to participate in American society, we could not see the massive differences the data revealed in the amount of talking that went on across families until we had converted our observations into quantified data. We were further surprised at how consistent the relative quantity of talking was in a family over time such that we could calculate how much experience with words a child was accumulating month by month while learning to talk. The amount that parents talked with their 1- to 2-year-old children was generally correlated with the parents' SES. But the data showed that no matter what the family SES, the more time parents spent talking with their child from day to day, the more rapidly the child's vocabulary was likely to be growing and the higher the child's score on an IQ test was likely to be at age 3.

When we analyzed what was hap

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Table of Contents


List of Tables and Figures
Preface
Acknowledgments
  1. The Social Dance of American Family Life
  2. Observing Children and Families Talking
  3. A Social World
  4. Developmental Change
  5. Becoming Partners
  6. Staying and Playing
  7. Practicing
  8. The Range Among Well-Functioning Families
  9. Meaningful Differences
  10. Talking as a Social Dance

References
Appendix A: Child Vocabulary in 100 Utterances, 19-36 Months
Appendix B: Steps in Describing the Social Dance
Appendix C: Steps in Explicating the Social Dance
Index

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