This book provides educators, parents, and policy makers with an in-depth exploration of language development in early childhood, describing how it is fueled by responsive caregiver?child interactions and intertwined with social-emotional development, executive function, and literacy. The first half of the book presents a rigorous discussion of the research on early childhood development; the second half reviews various programs that support language and literacy development through home visits, parent coaching, book giveaways, and other means.
After 5 years of experience teaching in elementary schools in the Philadelphia area, David K. Dickinson, Ed.D., attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education and then served as Director of Teacher Education at the Child Study Department at Tufts University and joined the Education Department at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he received tenure. He moved to the Education Development Center (EDC) in 1994 to join the team that developed the Early Childhood Generalist certificate for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. In 1995 he established the New England Research Center on Head Start Quality, which examined the impact of Head Start on children's language and literacy development and on families, with special attention to the development of children whose first language is Spanish. He and Catherine Snow received the initial funding that launched the Home-School Study of Language and Literacy Development in 1987, and he directed the school portion of the study during the preschool years. Drawing on early results from this study, he and colleagues at EDC developed the Literacy Environment Enrichment Project, an approach to helping preschool teachers and their supervisors adopt more effective practices to support children's language and literacy. He and others at EDC are developing and researching a version of this program that will be delivered using the Internet in combination with interactive television. His work has been published in numerous articles, and he has edited two other books, Bridges to Literacy: Children, Families and Schools (Blackwell, 1994) and Handbook of Early Literacy Research (co-edited with Susan Neuman, Guilford Press, 2001). He and Miriam W. Smith are co-authors (with Angela Sangeorge & Louisa Anastasopoulos) of the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation Toolkit, Research Edition (Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., 2002), a set of tools for evaluating the quality of literacy support in early childhood classrooms.