Profile photo of Dr. Josh Thompson (he/him)

Dr. Josh Thompson (he/him)

Professor Early Childhood Education

Department of Curriculum & Instruction

Office Location: EdSouth 204

Office Hours: By appointment

Phone: 903-886-5537


Professional Vita

Power of Words and Stories to Create the Life of the Mind

Our LIONIZING Event on Wed, April 21 centered around the student posts here in response to the prompt "I used to ...., but now I ..." What do you wonder about the Power of Words and Stories to Create the Life of the Mind?

Supplemental Instructors (SI)

Raegan Cooper

Correnda Gray

Angela LeBlanc

Course Description: Children learn their native language without formal lessons or teachers. This amazing power of acquisition is still available to you, the young adult learner. In fact, how you learn words and stories creates an interior life, the life of the mind that informs and directs the way you live your life. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Aristotle countered, “The unintentional life is not worth examining.”


Course Goal: The work of first year college students is to master certain ways of learning and knowing, academic stuff, and becoming self-aware of their own learning processes could help them succeed in cultivating their own life of the mind.

Signature Courses must meet the following Core Curriculum Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. In written, oral, and/or visual communication, students will communicate in a manner appropriate to audience and occasion, with an evident message and organizational structure.
  2. Students will be able to analyze, evaluate, or solve problems when given a set of circumstances, data, texts, or art.
  3. Students will demonstrate an understanding of societal and/or civic issues.

The successful learner will be an active and engaged participant in discussion forums by analyzing, constructing/creating, and evaluating information presented within the texts, external readings/resources, student research, and class activities.

No Textbook Required –

Required Readings, as provided by the professor. For example:

Coneway, B, & Fredman, T. (2019). Bridging the gap in early literacy development. Early Years 40(2) pp. 25-29.


Literature Circle Book Club (Required: choose one):

Ada, A.F. (2016). A magical encounter: Latino children’s literature in the classroom (3rd ed.). Transformative Education Services. *

Brown, B. (2018). Dare to lead: Brave work, tough conversations, whole hearts. Random House.

Cameron, J. (1992). The artist’s way: A spiritual path to higher creativity. TarcherPerigee. *

Csíkszentmihályi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. NY: Harper Perennial.

Pink, D.H. (2006). A whole new mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future. NY: Penguin Group. *

Pinker, S. (1994). The language instinct: How the mind creates language. HarperPerennial. *

Robinson, K. (2011). Out of our minds: Learning to be creative. Capstone. **

Singer, D., Golinkoff, R.M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2009). Play = learning: How play motivates and enhances children’s cognitive and social-emotional growth. NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199733828 **

Tannen, D. (1994). Gender and discourse. Oxford University Press. *

* On reserve in the Waters Library

** Available online at


Additional Resources:

Golinkoff, R.M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (1999). How babies talk: The magic and mystery of language in the first three years of life. Dutton.

Gray, P. (2013). Free to learn. Basic Books.

Mooney, C.G. (2018). Choose your words: Communicating with young children. Redleaf Press.

Nemeth, K.N. (2012). Many languages, building connections: Supporting infants and toddlers who are dual language learners. Gryphon House.

Resnick, M. (2017). Lifelong kindergarten: Cultivating creativity through projects, passion, peers, and play. MIT Press.

Suskind, D. (2015). Thirty million words: Building a child’s brain: Tune in, talk more, take turns. Dutton.



1. Readings, Discussions, Quizzes, & Participation (whole class, small group, & Literature Circle Book Club)

2. Unit 2 includes Tools for observing, listening, documenting, and analyzing language production. Demonstrate familiarity with all the tools, and competence in one or more.

3. Unit 3 outlines outcomes for a Child Language Study. Demonstrate competence in analyzing original language artifacts for communicative competence.

4. Annotate 50 children’s books, categorized by genres

5. Participate in Literature Circle Book Club

6. Final Summative Reflection

7. Create, make, do, craft, compose, choreograph, write, sing, sculpt, paint an original project based on your analysis of language acquisition.


Presentation at Annual Professional Learning Institute of National Association for the Education of Young Children, June 2020.

Children learn their native language without formal lessons or teachers. This amazing power of acquisition is still available to us as adult learners. In fact, how we learn words and stories creates an interior life, the life of the mind, that informs and directs the way you live your life.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children hosts two annual meetings, the Annual Conference and the Professional Learning Institute (PLI). The PLI for 2020 was scheduled for New Orleans in June, but because of COVID-19 it was cancelled. In April, I received notice regarding my presentation proposal:

"As in past years, we went through a highly competitive, peer-reviewed selection process to identify proposals for sessions that would be engaging and relevant to our audience. And although we are not moving forward with the event as planned, your proposal would have been selected for the 2020 Institute program."

In May, I was notified that my presentation had been selected to be recorded and offered in NAEYC's Virtual Institute HTTPS:// On May 11, I recorded my 45 min presentation, "Power of Words and Stories to Create the Life of the Mind."




Zoom video practice 30 minutes video

NAEYC Virtual Institute (available to NAEYC members from June 6-July 17, 2020)


Baron, Naomi. (1990). Pigeon-birds and rhyming words: The role of parents in language learning. Center for Applied Linguistics/Prentice-Hall Regents.

Foucault, Michel. (1966/1994). The order of things: An archaeology of the human sciences. Pantheon.

Heath, Shirley Brice. (1983). Ways with words: Language, life, and work in communities and classrooms. Cambridge University Press.

Hymes, Dell. (1972). On communicative competence. In J.B. Pride & J. Holmes (Eds.), Sociolinguistics (pp. 269-293). Penguin.

Lindfors, Judith Wells. (1987). Children's language and learning. Allyn and Bacon.

Native Land Digital. (2020).

Pinker, Steven. (1994). The lanugage instinct. Morrow.

Thompson, Josh. (2020). Poems, Songs, & Nursery Rhymes.

Thompson, W.J. (2001). Adaptations of language functions in caregiver speech: Nurturing the acquisition of pragmatic competence (UMI Number: 3010055) [Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Arlington]. UMI Microforms.

Wolfson, Nessa. (1989). Perspectives: Sociolinguistics and TESOL. Heinle & Heinle.


TALK - the power young children use to create language

HAND - the use of the hand by young children to construct meaning

“When you make the effort to speak someone else’s language, even if it’s just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them... I see you as a human being.” [Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (New York: Random House Publishing Group, 2016), pg. 148]

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. 2009. The Danger of a Single Story. TED Talk

Disclaimer: This site may contain links to web sites not administered by A&M-Commerce or one of its divisions, departments, units or programs. A&M-Commerce is not responsible or liable for the accuracy or the content of the linked pages.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!