Role Mommy 411

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Great Reading Tips from Tessy & Tab Founder Peggy Macdonald

You probably saw a headline or two about a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics by University of Washington researchers who reported that each hour per day of viewing baby DVDs and videos (such as the Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby products) by 8- to 16-month-olds reduced their vocabulary by seven words as compared to those who did not watch. One of the primary reasons cited was that those children NOT watching videos were were more likely interacting with an adult and hearing lots more words in those hours not spent in front of a video. Other studies have shown a correlation between the development of a child's vocabulary and how often and what tone their parents use when speaking to them (see more on this trend in our Clever Currents blog).

So, if building vocabulary is an early literacy skill, then we should all take advantage of what we can teach our toddlers by simply talking to them. To enrich your child's vocabulary through the simple action of talking to them, consider these points:

Have "real" conversations with your toddler and use "adult" words and proper grammar. Don't forget to listen too!

Talking with your toddler about their experiences and feelings helps them understand and use the vocabulary that you introduce. And even though kids come up with the cutest words for things -- like basketti instead of spaghetti -- avoid incorporating and repeating those in your vocabulary as it only makes it harder for your child to learn the real word.

Make a point of talking about the specific qualities of particular objects.
Take an ordinary object and ask specific questions. For instance, take a closer look at the sweater your child put on. Talk about what color it is. Talk about what texture it is. Talk about how it helps keep him warm. There are so many new words to introduce when you dig just a little deeper!

Look for connections and talk about the relationships between objects

When you have a conversation about something, look for natural connections to other things. It helps give some point of reference for the meaning of the word and gives you an opportunity to teach a child to look for these connections all around them. For instance, if the sweater is red and there is a red wagon nearby, you might say, "look the wagon is the same red color as your sweater. Do you see any other things that are red?"

So talk away and watch your child's vocabulary grow!


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