Can we, as a society, influence the earliest years of a child’s life to prevent the academic achievement gap? New research on cognitive development suggests that we can.
Differences in language exposure are a key predictor of children’s later success, according to a 1995 landmark study by researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley. But since then, we’ve learned that the back-and-forth interactions between adult caregivers and children — known as “conversational turns” — are even more critical than previously believed.
In other words, one of the most important things we can do to stimulate a child’s early brain development is also one of the simplest: talk.