Scanlon (Gratitude Journal for Kids, 2019, etc.), a pediatric speech-language pathologist, presents a guide to help parents understand, analyze, and enhance their children’s language development.
Learning one’s native tongue is an integral part of childhood—and one that often worries parents. Scanlon has created a rich handbook and workbook to give parents “competence and confidence” in language instruction. She begins by educating readers about early childhood language in order to show parents what to expect from their children and thus select appropriate “target words” for them. The author also provides four work sheets, designed to quickly analyze a toddler’s current level of language learning and determine directions for future growth. The next section is vital, as it lays out eight techniques to elicit first words (such as “Pause in Anticipation” and “Imitate, imitate, imitate”), as well as tips on creating a language-rich environment. Parents may already be employing some of these techniques on their own, but Scanlon effectively demonstrates each one to give readers clear notions of her language-enriching tools. The ideas for creating a language-rich environment, such as “hanging interesting pictures, postcards, maps, or photographs on walls…and chatting about them,” seem particularly beneficial. Finally, Scanlon provides a 30-day workbook that includes weekly planning sections and reviews, and simple, repeated questions for each day, such as “What three things did I do today to encourage my toddler’s first words?” and “What will I do tomorrow to stimulate or further develop my toddler’s first words?” Throughout, the author draws heavily on peer-reviewed research, yet she always makes the material easy to comprehend. The tone is consistently positive and encouraging, even when the author discusses touchy topics, such as limiting screen time. Lastly, the work’s intuitive organization and creative formatting make it a comfortable reading experience.
An exceptional parenting book with clear-cut applications.