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Why Talking Is Teaching -- Dr. Dana Suskind Offers "Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain"

Aired on Thursday, September 10th.

On this edition of ST on Health, an interesting discussion with Dr. Dana Suskind, a Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago who's also the Director of that school's Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program. She's probably best known as the founder and director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative. Firmly grounded in "talking is teaching" research that shows how critically important it is to expose developing children to language, this initiative has helped countless parents, teachers, social workers and others who endeavor to strengthen kids' ability to learn. An evidence-based intervention, Thirty Million Words is supported by many public and private partnerships; it's a program that aims help all children reach their full potential while also closing the ever-widening "achievement gap." Now comes a new book, just out from Penguin Random House, in which Dr. Suskind explains what this program is and how it works: "Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain." Moreover, and most importanly, the book shows parents how to use this program in their own families. As was noted of the book by Kirkus Reviews: "Suskind's vision is empowering, her methods are surprisingly simple to execute, and the results have been proven to nurture children toward becoming stable, empathetic adults.... [She offers] informative, exciting new data that confirms the significant benefits gained by talking to your child."

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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