Learning starts at home. Children tend to increase their intellectual capacity and develop their vocabularies well when parents converse with them at a very young age. Though this may seem quite obvious, it was not until 1995 that it was proven that talking with children at their early years will mark a significant difference when they grow up.
Researchers from the University of Kansas published the result of their 10 year study. They studied 42 families in Kansas city and they looked into how much the number of words spoken to children in the family by age three contributed to the children’s academic excellence when he reaches 9 years old.
The study showed that children born to professional and affluent families heard 30 million words more than those children from poorer family backgrounds. The research gives profound insight that sending children to preschool institutions at age 4 is too late to compensate for the lack of parental education or conversations at home.
A very intriguing study from Stanford University showed that the disparity of a child’s growth appear even before the child reaches three years old. At the early age of 18 months when children speak a couple of words, those children reared up in poor families are months behind the development of children in wealthier families. Another educator thinks that this difference or gap starts when a mother gives birth to her child.
Stressing the disparity
There are strong signs of gap between the two groups. At age two, there is already a six month gap with how they process language and how they note vocabularies. In the study by Dr Fernald, it is to be noted that children increase their vocabulary more when they are spoken to rather than from those heard in the surroundings. Tuning into educational television shows and letting the children hear while grownups discuss complicated matters does not have the same effect when you directly converse with them.
There are now tools available to help solve this gap. One is the Language Environment Analysis device. This device tracks down the words that children hear. This is used by parents to monitor the development of their children and see improvements in speech patterns and vocabulary.