Campus: CSU, Stanislaus -- August 17, 2000


Professor Susan Goodwyn Adds To "Baby Signs" Publications

California State University, Stanislaus Psychology Professor Susan Goodwyn has co-authored a new book on the amazing inner world of babies and toddlers.

Baby Minds: Brain-Building Games Your Baby Will Love, published as a Bantam Trade book in July, once again focuses on baby communication research conducted all over the world. It comes as a followup to Baby Signs, How To Talk With Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk, the first book co-authored by Goodwyn and UC Davis Professor Dr. Linda Acredolo. That 1995 book which documented 13 years of intensive research on teaching babies to communicate through hand and body gestures before their speaking skills has drawn international attention and sales of more than 200,000 copies.

The two child development experts have teamed up this time in their new fully illustrated book to present tips on how parents can have more quality time with their babies by sharing with them through a variety of communications techniques.

"Our focus was to help parents understand how competent infants really are when it comes to communicating," Goodwyn said. "They're much smarter than we think and are capable of getting their message across. It's very important for parents to know what babies are capable of so they can build on their relationships at an early age."

Goodwyn and Acredolo have published more than 40 scholarly articles and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC Dateline, 20/20 and other national television and radio programs as well as in many national and international publications. Their new book's release has already attracted similar notice, with Goodwyn having made a recent appearance on NBC Nightly News and Good Morning America.

In Baby Minds, they take the most recent science on babies out of the lab and into the living room. Brief "News Flashes" in each chapter reveal the ingenious techniques researchers use to understand what's on babies' minds, and their fascinating discoveries. For example:

  • Newborns can recognize a Dr. Seuss story their mothers read to them while they were still in the womb. (University of North Carolina)

  • Encouraging 9 to 12-month-old babies to use simple, home-grown sign language not only lowers frustration levels, but also makes learning to talk easier and raises IQ. (University of California)

  • The more nursery rhymes a 3-year-old knows, the better prepared he or she is to learn to read. (Oxford University)

Included in the book are age-appropriate tips -- from enjoying a newborn's skill at imitating facial expressions to clapping and counting games for toddlers. It builds on activities babies naturally love, offering dozens of ways to foster their talents in six key areas: memory, problem-solving, language, reading, number awareness and creativity. The importance of traditional activities like peek-a-boo, "pretend" play and reading aloud are explained and demonstrations on how to make them even more valuable are provided.

Recipient of a number of University grants involving parenting strategies, Goodwyn has focused on language and cognitive development for babies and their parents. A member of the CSU Stanislaus staff since 1992 and now teaching in Stockton, she has conducted workshops devoted to parenting techniques, teacher effectiveness training, facilitating communication and stress management.


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