A best-selling text unparalleled in its approach to teaching human development, Berk’s Development Through the Lifespan is relied upon in classrooms worldwide for its clear, engaging writing style, exceptional cross-cultural focus, rich examples, and long-standing commitment to presenting the most up-to-date scholarship while also offering students research-based, practical applications that they can relate to their personal and professional lives.
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Laura E. Berk is a distinguished professor of psychology at Illinois State University, where she has taught child and human development to both undergraduate and graduate students for more than three decades. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in child development and educational psychology from the University of Chicago. She has been a visiting scholar at Cornell University, UCLA, Stanford University, and the University of South Australia.
Berk has published widely on the effects of school environments on children’s development, the development of private speech, and most recently, the role of makebelieve play in development. Her research has been funded by the U.S. Office of Education and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. It has appeared in many prominent journals, including Child Development, Developmental Psychology,Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Development and Psychopathology, and Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Her empirical studies have attracted the attention of the general public, leading to contributions to Psychology Today and Scientific American.
Berk has served as research editor for Young Children and consulting editor for Early Childhood Research Quarterly and the Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology. She is a frequent contributor to edited volumes on early childhood development, having recently authored chapters on the importance of parenting, on make-believe play and self-regulation, and on the kindergarten child. She has also written the chapter on development for The Many Faces of Psychological Research in the Twenty-First Century (Society for the Teaching of Psychology), the chapter on social development for The Chicago Companion to the Child, the article on Vygotsky for the Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, and the chapter on storytelling as a teaching strategy for Voices of Experience: Memorable Talks from the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (Association for Psychological Science). Berk’s books include Private Speech: From Social Interaction to Self-Regulation, Scaffolding Children’s Learning: Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education, and Landscapes of Development: An Anthology of Readings. In addition to Infants, Children, and Adolescents, she is author of the best-selling texts Child Development and Development Through the Lifespan, published by Allyn and Bacon. Her book for parents and teachers is Awakening Children’s Minds: How Parents and Teachers Can Make a Difference.
Berk is active in work for children’s causes. In addition to service in her home community, she is a member of the national board of directors of Jumpstart, a nonprofit organization that provides early literacy intervention to thousands of low-income preschoolers across the United States, using college and university students as interveners. Berk is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division, 7: Developmental Psychology.
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