At a Loss for Words

How America is Failing Our Children and What We Can Do about It

Betty Bardige
Book Cover

PB: $28.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-393-2
Publication: May 05

HC: $71.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-392-5
Publication: May 05

Ebook: $28.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-394-9

272 pages
6 x 9
8 figures, 3 halftones

Promoting the importance of pre-literacy skills for later learning

Read the Foreword, Preface, and an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).


Drawing on the latest research about 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" settings in which more and more young children spend increasing amounts of time. Language skills are the key to school and life success, and acquiring them requires a level of input and practice that too many of our young children are not getting. Drawing upon an extensive body of research, the book demonstrates how we can build the community supports and public systems that our children need so that toddlers learn the power of language and how parents and teachers can support it.

Table of Contents

Contents ;;Foreword, by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.; ;;Preface; ;;Acknowledgments; Part I: Every Child's Birthright ;1;Jack and Jill; ;2;Prime Time for Language Learning; ;3;Why Early Language Matters; ;4;Supporting Early Language at Home; ;5;Supporting Early Language in Group Care; ;6;You Don't Speak My Language; Part II: The Quiet Crisis ;7;The State of Early Care and Education in the US; ;8;A Perfect Storm; ;9;Truth, Justice, and the American Way; Part III: Changing Course ;10;A Parent's Guide to Early Childhood Programs and Policy; ;11;Supporting Parents; ;12;Improving Programs for Children; ;13;Building Systems that Sustain Quality; ;14;We CAN Get There from Here; ;;Appendix: Resources and Connections for Parents, Policy Makers, and Advocates; ;;Notes; ;;Index

About the Author(s)

Betty Bardige, Ed.D., is a developmental psychologist, educator, and child advocate. As Vice-President of the A. L. Mailman Family Foundation and board member or advisor to many educational and philanthropic organizations, she works to shape early childhood policy at local, state, and national levels. She is also the co-author, with her mother, Dr. Marilyn Segal, of Building Literacy with Love. Dr. Bardige can be reached at