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Child Development

Child Development
An Active Learning Approach

Third Edition

January 2017 | 760 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

In the Third Edition of the topically organized Child Development: An Active Learning Approach, authors Laura E. Levine and Joyce A. Munsch invite students to take an active journey toward understanding the latest findings from the field of child development. Using robust pedagogical tools built into the chapter narratives, students are challenged to confront myths and misconceptions, participate in real-world activities with children and independently, and utilize video resources and research tools to pursue knowledge and develop critical thinking skills on their own. This new edition covers the latest findings on developmental neuroscience, positive youth development, the role of fathers, and more, with topics of diversity and culture integrated throughout. More than a textbook, this one-of-a-kind resource will continue to serve students as they go on to graduate studies, to work with children and adolescents professionally, and to care for children of their own.

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About the Authors
1. Issues and Themes in Child Development
Why Study Child Development?

Understanding How Development Happens

Contexts of Development

Being a Smart Consumer of Information About Development

2. Theories of Development
Basic Principles and Applications

Theories of Child and Adolescent Development

The Impact of Biology and Culture on Child Development Theory and Research

3. How We Study Development
The Scientific Method

How Research Is Designed

Interpreting and Communicating the Results of a Study

Ethics in Research With Children and Adolescents

4. How Children Develop: Nature Through Nurture
The Study of Genetics and Behavior

Molecular Genetics: Chromosomes, Genes, and DNA

Genetic Disorders

Behavioral Genetics

The Interaction of Genes and Environment

5. Prenatal Development, the Newborn, and the Transition to Parenthood
Prenatal Development

Health and Risks in Pregnancy

The Birth Experience

Risks to the Newborn’s Health and Well-Being

The Transition to Parenthood

6. Physical Development: The Brain and the Body
Brain Development

Development of the Senses

Body Growth and Changes

Motor Development


7. Theories of Cognitive Development
Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

Theory of Core Knowledge

Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development

Information Processing

Comparing Four Theories of Cognitive Development

8. Intelligence and Academic Achievement
Defining and Assessing Intelligence

Variations in Intellectual Ability

Academic Achievement: Learning in the School Context

Group Differences in Academic Achievement

9. Language Development
Aspects of Language

Language and the Brain

Theories of Language Development

Stages of Language Development

Literacy: Reading and Writing

Bilingualism and Bilingual Education

Language Disorders

10. Emotional Development and Attachment
Emotions: Universality and Difference


Regulation of Emotions and Self-Control

Normal Emotions and Emotional Problems

The Development of Secure Attachment

Attachment Disorders

11. Identity: The Self, Gender, and Moral Development
Development of the Self-Concept

Development of Self-Esteem

Gender Identity

Ethnic and Racial Identity

Moral Identity

12. Social Development: Social Cognition and Peer Relationships
Social Cognition: Theory of Mind

Peer Relationships in Infancy and Early Childhood

Peer Relationships in Middle Childhood

Adolescents: The World of Peers

Bullying, Cyberbullying, and School Violence

13. Families
What Constitutes a Family?

Family Roles and Relationships

Socialization in Childhood and Adolescence

Interventions for a Better Family Life

14. Activities, Media, and the Natural World
The Daily Lives of Children and Adolescents

Unstructured Time

Structured Time

The Role of Important Nonparental Adults

15. Health, Well-Being, and Resilience
Stress and Coping

Physical Illness and Mental Disorders

Other Threats to Health and Well-Being

Challenges to Positive Child Development


Author Index
Subject Index


Student Study Website

SAGE EDGE FOR STUDENTS enhances learning in an easy-to-use environment that offers:

  • Mobile-friendly flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, and make it easy to maximize your study time, anywhere, anytime
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes that allow you to assess how much you’ve learned and where you need to focus your attention
  • A customized online action plan that includes tips and feedback on progress through the course and materials
  • Learning objectives that reinforce the most important material
  • Chapter-specific study questions that allow you to engage with the material
  • Exclusive access to influential SAGE journal and reference content, that ties important research and scholarship to chapter concepts to strengthen learning
Instructor Resource Website

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  • Intuitive, simple format that makes it easy to integrate the material into your course with minimal effort
  • Pedagogically robust assessment tools that foster review, practice, and critical thinking, and offer a more complete way to measure student engagement, including:
    • Diagnostic chapter pre tests and post tests that identify opportunities for improvement, track student progress, and ensure mastery of key learning objectives
    • Test banks built on Bloom’s Taxonomy that provide a diverse range of test items with ExamView test generation
    • Activity and quiz options that allow you to choose only the assignments and tests you want
    • Instructions on how to use and integrate the comprehensive assessments and resources provided
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions to help launch engaging classroom interaction while reinforcing important content
  • Assignable SAGE Premium Video (available via the interactive eBook version, linked through SAGE coursepacks) that is tied to learning objectives, curated, and produced exclusively for this text to bring concepts to life and appeal to different learning styles, featuring: 
    • Corresponding multimedia assessment options that automatically feed to your gradebook
    • Comprehensive, downloadable, easy-to-use Media Guide in the Coursepack for every video resource, listing the chapter to which the video content is tied, matching learning objective(s), a helpful description of the video content, and assessment questions
    • Test Your Knowledge: Myths and Misunderstandings videos feature true/false questions posed to students on their campuses and the authors’ commentary on responses
    • Active Learning videos accompanying the Active Learning activities feature interviews and activities to help students prepare for their own interactions with children and adolescents
    • Development in Action videos present professionals in the field of child development discuss various topics from the book, and videos taped at early childhood education settings show children in a number of activities described in it.
  • EXCLUSIVE, influential SAGE journal and reference content, built into course materials and assessment tools, that ties important research and scholarship to chapter concepts to strengthen learning
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer flexibility when creating multimedia lectures so you don’t have to start from scratch but you can customize to your exact needs
  • Sample course syllabi with suggested models for structuring your course that give you options to customize your course in a way that is perfect for you
  • Lecture notes that summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help you with preparation for lectures and class discussions
  • Integrated links to the interactive eBook that make it easy for your students to maximize their study time with this “anywhere, anytime” mobile-friendly version of the text. It also offers access to more digital tools and resources, including SAGE Premium Video
  • All tables and figures from the textbook 


"Test Your Knowledge is a good introduction to inform students of what they do not know; thereby reinforcing their need to READ the chapter!"

Shawn Edwinson
Sacramento City College

"I appreciate this feature [Test Your Knowledge] because it sets the stage for learning and activates prior knowledge."

Glenna S. Gustafson
Radford University

"Very engaging and effective. Attention grabber. The questions/your answers stick with you as you read the chapter allowing one to either confirm or change their thinking." 

Aaliyah Baker
Cardinal Stritch University

"I really like the learning goals and the end of chapter summaries. With so much content, it is helpful to have a reminder of the most important points from the chapter at the end." 

Amy M. Claridge
Central Washington University

"I really appreciated the Active Learning Exercises! Wow. These are probably the best that I have seen for these. I also appreciated the focus on careers, as well as being a good consumer of research…. I was especially impressed with the Test Your Knowledge openers. I could envision myself using these for each chapter as a discussion starter in class."

Tara M. Stoppa, Ph.D
Eastern University

"The Active Learning sections are particularly engaging.  I believe students will really enjoy doing these on their own, and it is also something that I can facilitate in the classroom…. The Test Your Knowledge section is also a favorite of mine. This is an engaging and useful tool to help students focus their learning…My students would enjoy a text that encourages such deeper and effective interaction – less passive reading – and pushes critical thinking." 

Dawn N. Hicks Tafari
Winston-Salem State University

The applications to real world scenarios throughout the book will lead to rich discussions.

Dr Janet Parker
Humanities, Education, and the Arts, Cumberland University
March 8, 2020
Key features


  • Learning Questions throughout every chapter give students specific goals toward mastering the most important material.
  • Check Your Understanding questions at the end of each section allow students to check on their mastery of the material before moving on to the next topic.
  • SAGE Premium Video curated and produced exclusively for this text brings concepts to life.
  • Updated and expanded content includes the prenatal effects of the Zika virus; abusive head trauma and shaken baby syndrome; transgender, transsexual, and gender nonconforming children and teens; the effects of lead poisoning in the water in Flint and elsewhere; and more.
  • Stronger focus and enhanced coverage on positive psychology and positive youth development, as well as developmental issues of middle childhood keeps readers up to date.
  • Coverage of disorders new to DSM–5 includes depression with peripartum onset, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorders.
  • Over one thousand new and updated references, statistics, figures, and graphs reflect the latest developments in this fascinating field.


  • An active learning approach that integrates dynamic activities throughout each chapter engages students in personal, real-world applications of research and theory.
  • Coverage of cutting-edge topics include children in the natural world; homelessness; trauma and toxic stress; sex trafficking of children; generalist genes; cultural neuroscience; preverbal language perception and brain development; fuzzy trace theory; false belief understanding in very young children; and concussions and other sports injuries.
  • Test Your Knowledge assessments at the beginning of each chapter help students identify and dispel any misconceptions in the field through answering true/false questions.
  • Journey of Research pedagogy illuminates how research evolves and shapes new ideas for key topics in child development. 


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