Thursday, December 13, 2007

Toddler Language Development

Two recent articles suggest that getting babies toddlers books instead of DVDs is a smart way to ensure a Toddler will read.

The Guardian recently reported a story called Language DVDs can slow down baby talk, parents warned by Helen Pidd.
Andrew Meltzoff, co-director of the University of Washington's Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences and co-author of the study, said: "The results surprised us, but they make sense. There are only a fixed number of hours that young babies are awake and alert. If the 'alert time' is spent in front of DVDs and TV instead of with people speaking in 'parentese' - that melodic speech we use with little ones - the babies are not getting the same linguistic experience." The researchers believe the content of baby DVDs and videos is different from the other types of programming because it tends to have little dialogue and shows linguistically indescribable images such as a lava lamp. By contrast, children's educational programs are crafted to meet developmental needs of pre-school children.
A second article found on Web MD called Why Toddlers' Vocabulary Grows Quickly
Repetition, Challenging Words May Lead to Boom in Toddlers' Vocabulary
by Miranda Hitti states;
According to McMurray, kids don't necessarily reach that tipping point by learning one word, then the next, and then another. Rather, it's a matter of learning a mix of words at once -- including simple and not-so-simple words -- and repeating them.

"Children are going to get that word spurt guaranteed, mathematically, as long as a couple of conditions hold," Murray says in a University of Iowa news release.

"They have to be learning more than one word at a time, and they must be learning a greater number of difficult or moderate words than easy ones," McMurray explains. "Using computer simulations and a mathematical analysis, I found that if those two conditions are true, you always get a vocabulary explosion."
These ideas should warn well-intentioned gift-givers not to buy DVDs for young children but buy something parents can read to kids instead.

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