Talking with—Not Just to—Kids Powers How They Learn Language

Article Summary:

Although differences in the amount of words heard is correlated to divergence in language development between children, new research indicates that “back-and-forth communication” is more predictive of language skills. A new study from MIT gathered data on the number of words spoken by the child, number of words spoken to the child, and the number of times that the conversation “turned” between caretaker and child showed that the numbers of conversational turns between children and caretakers.

Using LENA technology, MIT researchers found that turns correlated strongly with brain activity in Broca’s area, a part of the brain highly associated with language development. During a time when digital media is increasingly prevalent, it is important for parents to emphasize interactive conversation with children, creating a foundation for learning. The MIT research article can be found here.