Lynn Carson, a fellow Canadian SLP, contact me and asked if I would review her book, From Birth to First Words: Activities to Support Your Baby’s Language Learning in the First Year of Life. I agreed, and she sent me a copy of the book. Lynn Carson is currently in Australia, studying to get her Ph.D.
What is it About?
From Birth to First Words is an excellent no-frills book to help parents learn to foster language development during the first year of life. Each week has its own page with the same format. I appreciated the “Area Addressed” section. Specific skills are targeted each week, such as receptive language, expressive language, phonological development, early literacy, pragmatic/social language, amoung others. It contains easy to read parent-friendly language, and the tips section at the bottom of the page are beneficial. It has a very encouraging tone throughout the book.
The activities are well laid out. For many activities, the parents do not need anything other than themselves and the baby. If they do need materials, they are objects that most parents would have on hand (e.g., a mirror). These activities would not be intimidating to new parents and only take a few minutes to do. Lynn will sometimes include when to do specific activities (e.g., when the baby has awoken from a nap). Any handouts that families would need are provided at the end of each chapter.
One caveat, and I went back and forth about if I should add this or not, is that people of different cultures may not be familiar with some of the nursery rhymes/songs recommended in the book. The lyrics are included in the book, and they could be easily searched on the internet, or other more familiar songs/rhymes used instead. I do not think this should deter a person from accessing this book in any way. I feel the book is more valuable for including these songs/rhymes. With the world becoming more multicultural, I’m not sure how you would address all the different songs/rhymes that people could know.
I also like that the book addressed topics that parents tend to have strong and differing opinions (e.g., screen time, motherese). Lynn presents information in a non-judgemental tone and often encourages parents to do more research. And speaking of research, there is a reference section at the back of the book.
Overall, it is a well-written book that helps parents establish the foundations of language with their infants. I highly recommend it.