How and how much we talk with our children is a factor in their literacy. Talking with your child can make the difference in their literacy – a thirty million words difference!
Thirty Million Words by Dana Suskind, MD dives deep into the findings of the astounding word gap between children of professional and welfare families by the time they are only three years old. This sounds too unbelievable, right? 30,000,000 words. It is true. Thankfully, the book explains that how and how much we talk with our children is a factor in their literacy. It encourages parents and caregivers to practice “The Three T’s” which is tuning in, talking more and taking turns. This is setting the stage for further development.
Some disagree with the Thirty Million Words study because their sample size and method used might have skewed the data. When I read the book, I couldn’t believe what I was reading was true. I set the book down several times because the truth in that book really hit close to home. I could place myself in several of the situations that cause a gap in hearing words spoken at an early age. Nod your head if you grew up watching TV. Yes, me too! I have fond memories of laying in front of the TV, watching cartoons, movies, or TV shows with my family or just by myself. I can close my eyes and clearly remember Sunday morning cartoons with a bowl of cereal and sitting with a warm blanket wrapped around me.
The study doesn’t say this is a bad thing, however, it would make a difference if you talk with children about what they are watching. Just talk with them. Sit with your child and describe what you are seeing on the screen. For example, “I see a big yellow bird talking to the man wearing a grey hat.” You could also ask questions even if your little one can’t yet answer, “Who is the main character of this show?” “Where does this show take place?” “What do you think will happen next?” For our youngest ones, follow the question with the answer. These are helpful tips that can guide how and how much we talk with our children.
If we truly want to improve our children’s literacy and education, we, parents and caregivers, must be responsible very early in their lives. Thirty Million Words @TMWInitiative explains how and how much we talk with our children makes the difference. Read my take on practicing “The Three T’s” #howshedoesit #earlyeducation #successTweet
Put it in practice
What are your tips?
More people should know about the thirty million word gap and learn easy to follow techniques to close the gap. In this book, you’ll also learn the oh so important “why” communication, how and how much we talk with our children is a factor in their literacy. Communication is invaluable to our littlest ones. What are your suggestions? Share your tips! We can definitely learn more from each other.