Transforming community through philanthropy.

Community Foundation Speaker Series: Dr. Dana Suskind

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Reception and book sales begin at 11:30 a.m. Lunch at noon

East Ridge Country Club
1000 Stewart Drive
Shreveport, LA 71106

The early formative years from birth to age five are a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop the foundational learning and social skills critical to a child’s future academic and life success. Research indicates that a child’s brain is growing most rapidly from birth to age three, with 90% of brain growth completed by age five. Getting children off to a strong start is the most strategic way to close the achievement gap and is far more cost-effective than remediation in later years.

Join us to hear from Dr. Dana Suskind, author of Thiry Million Words: Building a Child's Brain.

Reception and book sales begin at 11:30 a.m. Lunch at noon.

Dr. Dana Suskind is a Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago, Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program, and Founder and Director of the Thirty Million Words® Initiative, a program dedicated to harnessing the power of language to build a child’s brain and impact his or her future. Dr. Suskind is also the author of Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain, published in September 2015.

A well-known study by Betty Hart and Todd Risley in 1995 found some children heard thirty million fewer words by their fourth birthdays than others. The children who heard more words were better prepared when they entered school. These same children had bigger vocabularies, stronger reading skills, and higher test scores when they entered the next grade. Dr. Suskind learned of this thirty million word gap while she was working as a cochlear implant surgeon at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Intrigued and alarmed by the study, she began the Thirty Million Words® Initiative in response to this thirty million word gap and is actively working to close this ever-widening achievement gap.

In her book and keynote presentations, Dr. Suskind details the critical importance of early language exposure on a developing child’s brain and encourages parents to take an active role in this development. Drawing on her own experiences with patients and the compelling research on the neuroscience of brain plasticity, Dr. Suskind explains that the most important, and astoundingly simple, thing that one can do for a child’s future success in life is to talk to him or her.

Dr. Suskind and the Thirty Million Words® Initiative have been profiled by numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, NPR, The Economist, and and they have received support from The Department of Education and The Hemera Foundation. She also received the University of Chicago Medical Faculty Award for “Distinguished Leader in Program Innovation”. Dr. Suskind lives in Chicago with her family.


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