An informed and challenging view of why so many of today's children think and speak, like, well. . .kind of. . .you know, like that way--and what schools and families can do about it. Educational psychologist and teacher Healy gets right to the point: The minds of today's young people are subtly but fundamentally different from the minds of earlier generations. Not less intelligent, but different. What has always been considered higher-order reasoning--the ability to connect diverse pieces of information, to find cause and effect, to analyze critically--appears to be diminishing. What's going on? Pollution, poor nutrition, overstimulation, but most important, in Healy's view, is the decreasing importance of language in raising children. Reading or being read to, talking, listening, engaging children in conversation--all of these things not only teach children to talk and think but literally shape their brains. Yes, she asserts, TV and video are big villains, and Sesame Street, beloved of parents and (some) educators, is not all it purports to be. But TV, day care, working mothers, tired fathers, absent grandparents are facts of life. Instead of schools straggling fruitlessly to teach children the same old curriculum in the same old way, look with new eyes, says Healy. For instance, children may be illiterate in the culture of old, but exceptionally literate in today's culture. With ""facts"" so easily retrieved from data bases, concentrate on teaching how to ask the right questions rather than on how to memorize answers. Use computer programs to simulate events in history. In truth, virtually nothing in this book is new, but Healy marshals information and expert testimony in a broad picture that is stimulating and useful.