Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Word Power for Babies

Jerry and I just got back from spending 5 days with our son and grandson. We helped watch little Jack while his mother was traveling for her job. We had so much fun seeing how much he has grown since we saw him in June. He amazed us with his growing vocabulary and the ability to recognize letters and numbers. (Jack is two.)

So it was really interesting for me to read an article in the October issue of Reader's Digest called "Word Power for Babies". The article stressed the importance of words--songs, nursery rhymes,books,chit chat and just everyday language. The article goes on to say that many low-income children are suffering from a lack of words. That in turn can be linked to poor school performance,difficulty learning to read and lower graduation rates. 

Conversely, a study done by researchers at Rice and Columbia University determined middle class and affluent children hear 30 more million words in their first three years than low income kids.That definitely is giving them a huge boost in learning!

Wow! I had not realized the importance of just talking to your baby/toddler. What we take for granted with Jack--reading books, singing songs,talking to him as we play is lacking in many families. The article does say that hearing words while watching tv or using an Ipad does not benefit children. It's not the same as interactive language with another person. 

The rest of the article tells about a program called the Parent-
Child Home Program (PCHP) in which literacy specialists make home visits to help parents and young children close the word gap. The Reader's Digest Foundation is awarding a $500,000 grant to PCHP to celebrate reading and improve literacy in children. 

To make a difference you can take a pledge to read to the children in your life. Then send a snapshot of yourself reading to your child/children to Reader's Digest. (You can find more details here.)
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