Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Conversing Helps Language Development More Than Reading Alone

Date:
July 17, 2009
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
A new study shows adult-child conversations have a more significant impact on language development than exposing children to language through monologic reading alone.

Back-and-forth conversation is strongly associated with future improvements in a child's language score.
Credit: iStockphoto/Sean Locke

Adult-child conversations have a more significant impact on language development than exposing children to language through one-on-one reading alone, according to a new study in the July issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Related Articles


"Pediatricians and others have encouraged parents to provide language input through reading, storytelling and simple narration of daily events," explains study's lead author, Dr. Frederick J. Zimmerman, associate professor in the Department of Health Services in the UCLA School of Public Health. "Although sound advice, this form of input may not place enough emphasis on children's role in language-based exchanges and the importance of getting children to speak as much as possible."

The study of 275 families of children ages 0-4 was designed to test factors that contribute to language development of infants and toddlers. Participants' exposure to adult speech, child speech and television was measured using a small digital language recorder or processor known as the LENA System. This innovative technology allowed researchers to hear what was truly going on in a child's language environment, facilitating access to valuable new insights.

The study found that back-and-forth conversation was strongly associated with future improvements in the child's language score. Conversely, adult monologueing, such as monologic reading, was more weakly associated with language development. TV viewing had no effect on language development, positive or negative.

Zimmerman adds, "What's new here is the finding that the effect of adult-child conversations was roughly six times as potent at fostering good language development as adult speech input alone."

Each day, children hear an average of some 13,000 words spoken to them by adults and participate in about 400 conversational turns with adults. More conversations mean more opportunities for mistakes and therefore more opportunities for valuable corrections. Furthermore, they also provide an opportunity for children to practice new vocabulary.

Parents should be encouraged not only to provide language input to their children through reading or storytelling but also to engage their children in two-sided conversations, the study concludes.

"Talk is powerful, but what's even more powerful is engaging a child in meaningful interactions — the 'give and take' that is so important to the social, emotional and cognitive development of infants and toddlers," says Dr. Jill Gilkerson, language research director at LENA Foundation and a study co-author.

"It is not enough to speak to children," Zimmerman adds. "Parents should also engage them in conversation. Kids love to hear you speak, but they thrive on trying speech out for themselves. Give them a chance to say what's on their minds, even if it's 'goo goo gah.'"


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Conversing Helps Language Development More Than Reading Alone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629132204.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2009, July 17). Conversing Helps Language Development More Than Reading Alone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629132204.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Conversing Helps Language Development More Than Reading Alone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629132204.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins