Review Thirty Million Words by Dana Suskind

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There is something hopeful in a country that cares enough about its children to invest in them. – Dr. Dana Suskind

Content Summary

We will provide a summary of Dana Suskind‘s book Thirty Million Words, full of world-changing information, tell the author’s story, and examine Thirty Million Words.

Thirty Million Words Price Comparison

AmazonDutton BooksERROR
Amazon (Kindle)Dutton Books $7.99
Barnes and NobleDutton Books$29.00 
Barnes and Noble (Nook)Dutton Books$7.99 

After reading such voluminous and important books, I have a great anxiety attack before I write the article. When I add what I learned from the book in the light of the data of children’s literature, and what I know, I am not sure where to start. Or I can’t start to explain because I’m worried that there will be something I haven’t told, but I will try.

A Photo of Dana Suskind.

A Photo of Dana Suskind.

As I have written many times here and on different blogs, human beings can think as much as their native language. Thinking skills are directly proportional to language skills. Thanks to the evolution of the FoxP2 gene, humans first started to control a valve in our throat that is not normally designed for this job, and then formed the language. In other words, he found language by thinking, then he became unable to think without language.

As Humboldt and Wittgenstein gave their first examples, thinking skills of people develop in direct proportion to their conceptual memory. What enriches our conceptual memory is words. The more words we know, the more concepts we have, and our thinking skills develop in parallel with our conceptual memory.

Of course, there is no age limit for acquiring concepts, learning words. Human beings can learn a lot of words at any time thanks to the novels they read, the socio-cultural environments they enter and the experiences they live in. However, of course, as every branch of science dealing with human development states, there is a sensitive period in terms of our concept acquisition skills.

This period is between 0 and 3 years old.

Every baby between the ages of 0 and 3 needs to grow up in a stimulating environment, encounter quality children’s books and interact with them. This is important for each child to realize their potential.

Dana Suskind and John List

Dana Suskind and John List

Dr. Dana Suskind tells that cared and uncared children start their lives with a big difference. She states that there is a gap of thirty million words between the number of words heard by the children of poor families and the children of well-off families between the ages of 0-3.

Who is Dana Suskind?

Dr. Dana Suskind dedicates her life to what needs to be done to close this gap. Suskind’s philosophy is that what is not good for a single bee will not be good for the hive. Therefore, it is very important for every child to realize their potential so that the future of countries and the world is better than today. It runs projects on the troubled American education system in collaboration with the White House and promotes the Thirty Million Words project to the rest of the world.

The personality of Suskind, who lost her wife unfortunately as he described in the last chapter of the book, presents a unique example that combines kindness, sacrifice and science. Shee calls us all to duty to correct the disruptions and injustices we see in life:

“Waves rose up to two meters over Lake Michigan. While our children were playing in the sand, my wife Don Liu and I were watching them. When he got up, he saw two boys struggling in raging waters. She started running towards the lake, our little girl shouted: “Daddy don’t go!”

These were the last words he said to his father. The two children returned ashore alive. My wife, a fearless man when it comes to helping others, died, unable to cope with the rough waves and undercurrent. He was my best friend, my strongest support, my true love.

Don didn’t think or hesitate as he stood on the shore watching how the two boys struggled. He was a pediatric surgeon and was absolutely committed to his patients. If a child needed help, he would offer the help he needed. It wasn’t just a simple deduction, it was his way of life. The two children could never stand on the shore and watch them, fighting for their lives; Even if he knew that taking action would cost him his life, he still couldn’t watch.

There are many children in our country struggling with impossibilities and coming out of the womb without even knowing what they should want to reach their potential. They are fighting for their lives. We don’t just stand on the shore.

Later, the frost was declared a hero. In fact, this is what we should all be.”

The Books of Dana Suskind

Born in 1968, Dana Suskind is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Medicine, while she writes books and manages projects for the world’s children to reach their potential. Thirty Million Words, which has been translated into many language and has achieved good sales figures all over the world, is her most well-known book that has reached a wide readership. Apart from this, he also has her signature on co-authored book works and academic articles.

Thirty Million Words Book Cover

Thirty Million Words Book Cover

So What Does Thirty Million Words Mean?

Summary of The Thirty Million Words

Dr. Dana Suskind was originally just a pediatric surgeon. He is interested in placing the cochlear implant, a revolutionary invention in the 1980s, in children with hearing impairment. The cochlear implant stands out as a tremendous invention that attaches to the ears of deaf children and gives them the ability to hear. However, things don’t go quite as expected. Dr. While Dana Suskind is waiting for everyone to start hearing words and join life with this miracle invention, she sees that children over a certain age who have had a cochlear implant never learn to speak or reach a sufficient level. At this point, he does not hesitate to act boldly and goes beyond her field and turns to social sciences. Based on the knowledge that the biological development of our brain is 85% complete between the ages of 0 and 3, it determines that the probability of realizing the potential of the individual is largely determined by what he/she experiences between the ages of 0 and 3, and he embodies this with the following lines:

“It is luck that determines the life we are born into. No baby born into this world knows what to expect; there is no checklist of what we can expect from life; There is no menu with options A and B. But from day one, all of the factors beyond our control have an indelible influence on us. Also, socioeconomic factors have nothing to do with being loved as a child, having parents who want you to be happy and successful, or having great potential. But these factors definitely affect your access to education, your health, and the outcome of your illness.”

Studies show that children from 0 to 3 years of age from wealthy families hear thirty million more words than other children, so their thinking skills and future success will be higher than children from low-income families.

“But aren’t there any bright spots for children from troubled areas and broken families whose stories we read in the papers? Of course there is. However, these are transcendent individuals as they are called in psychology. So exceptions. The goal is for every child to realize their potential.”

Although Thirty Million Words may seem like a huge gap, it is not impossible for the children of low-income families to make up for this thirty million word gap. The Thirty Million Words project demonstrates how to do just that. She wants to raise awareness of parents and allow each child to realize their potential.

Dr. Dana Suskind is aware of the daily life and hardship of living, knows that every parent wants the best for their child, and tries to enlighten people by bringing this desire together with science.

The Topic of The Thirty Million Words

Thirty Million Words does not talk big and explain the theory and philosophy of the business. It shows how this gap should be closed with concrete examples. For example, when using words of praise for our child, he even explains how we should do this with examples of dialogue. He mentions that we should praise our child’s effort rather than praising her intelligence. He explains that children who are praised for their intelligence do not tend towards more challenging goals, whereas children who are praised for their efforts are more resilient because they are more resilient and do not hesitate to tend towards harder ones, so they are closer to realizing their potential.

“In Professor Dweck’s study, 128 fifth graders were given a puzzle. After the children finished the puzzle, some were praised for being clever, and others were praised for their hard work. The children were then asked to choose a second task, or a similar task to the first, from which they could “learn a lot” but which was more difficult. Sixty-seven percent of children labeled as “intelligent” chose the easy task, while ninety-two percent of children who were praised for their hard work chose the more difficult task.” -Page 118

Thirty Million Words tells us that instead of telling our child not to run down the stairs, it is more correct to say that if you run down the stairs, you may hurt something, and that the child can thus begin to use cause and effect structures. He mentions that even when buying ice cream, it is necessary to not rush and let the children make their own choices without worrying about embarrassing the seller.

A photograph of Dana Suskind published in the Chicago Tribune.

A photograph of Dana Suskind published in the Chicago Tribune.

The Thirty Million Words project, which gave its name to the book, is a project that has achieved successful results so far. That’s why international institutions and governments need to invest in early infant and child education. Social sciences, like other branches of science, do not serve to offer you a certain production opportunity with a certain investment. The results appear in a much longer term and money is spent. However, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Heckman, it is also stated that every $1 invested in education for children between the ages of 0 and 7 has a return of $7 to the economy when the child reaches puberty. We need to keep in mind that those who develop economies are individuals who have realized their potential and we need to invest generously in this issue.

“Reading scientific papers can be great and actually fun. Because when we read them, most of the work is done: a preliminary definition of the problem, predictions about the causes of the problem, and often even solutions for what can be done about the problem are offered. In the medical and technological sciences, professionals and entrepreneurs are waiting at the door to turn this science into action.

However, this is not true in the world of social sciences. While the work done by social scientists is extraordinary, and if carefully tested, it yields excellent results, these results are not easily translated into action as in the medical and technological sciences. The reasons for this are complex. Solving social problems requires money rather than earn money. That’s the first problem. Society’s “what to do?” The answer to the question is often conjecture and is constantly taken up in a political debate. Evidence of reliable science does not agree with my gut feeling. Finally, social problems involve long-standing social complexities that often make it difficult to implement innovative solutions, even when scientifically supported.”

What To Do?

Many projects are mentioned in Thirty Million Words, but let me add what I know. As we wrote earlier in Maiotik, every newborn baby in Finland is given a baby box, which they call the Finnish Baby Box.

With the Book Start project, which started in England, over ten million children have been brought together with millions of books to date. Implemented in nearly thirty countries on different continents, from the Faroe Islands to Japan, this project brings together children aged 0-3 with quality works.

Thirty Million Words is a must read for every teacher.

Thirty Million Words is a must read for every teacher.

Thirty Million Words Quotes

There are many places in the book that I have underlined, but in order not to prolong it, I will end the review with a few quotes.

“The truth is that; I could ignore my observations and interesting anecdotes about children as unscientific. For me, like many others in academia, science was real science only when the numbers were big enough to prove or disprove a case. But in the end I realized that; The power of numbers, which ignores individual experiences, can hinder crucial insights.”

Another quote I would like to include here is about the parents obsession with speaking a foreign language at an early age of children, as the details of which can be read from my previous article on With Foreign Language Education at Maiotik.

“Science shows that it is always better for parents to speak to their children in their ownnative language, regardless of the parents’ level of education or how well they have mastered their adult English. The reason is logical. Because of a new language, in this case English, is learned by parents as adults, the proficiency of the parents in the language will never be the same as in their native language in terms of vocabulary, syntax, minor details and general quality. Because when people express themselves in their native language, it is part of their whole life, and when they do, they mean beyond the mere concrete meanings of words.”


Review Thirty Million Words
  • Story
  • Fiction
  • Wording
  • Atmosphere

Birefly My Opinion

It is a wonderful book that every parent should read, that tells how we can improve children’s thinking skills, which we can call parenting license.


  1. blank Abigail

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