Category Archives: Linguistic

Reading to your baby – Why the American Academy of Pediatrics urges it!

In June, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement asking pediatricians to talk to parents about the numerous benefits of reading aloud with their children, and how critical it is for children’s brain development, language skills and social skills. Dr. Pamela High, a pediatrician and professor at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School was the lead author on the new statement. She has stated that reading to your child everyday helps build a healthy parent-child relationship because it’s an opportunity for one-on-one interaction. Kids who are read to everyday have stronger language skills when they reach kindergarten, and are therefore more prepared to learn to read. That then predicts that those kids are more likely to graduate from high school.

So, reading to your child is extremely important! If you are not already doing it, start forming the habit today! You might wonder what babies think when they look at books. Although a baby doesn’t understand what the pictures or words mean, at around four months he or she is able to focus on them. Staring at pictures is one of the initial steps in picture recognition, a key skill that leads to comprehending the meaning of pictures and words. Babies will gaze at a picture for several moments and show clear interest in its colors and shapes, drawn to brightly colored pages. It is very common for babies to show preference for a particular page of a book by staring at it longer than other pages. Early experiences with books will familiarize your child with them and create interest in reading, so it’s never too early to start.veryhungrycaterpillar

A book that is sure to get your baby’s attention, and one of my personal favorites, is The Very Hungry Caterpillar a classic written and illustrated by Eric Carle.  Its bright colors and interactive format will invite your child to participate in a counting game and even expose him or her to the days of the week. This is definitely a great book to add to your child’s bookshelf!

Have book recommendations of your own? Please feel free to share them by writing a comment below! Keep coming back for more information about the perks of reading to your child and suitable book suggestions!

Words about words: Parental engagement can change the course of language development

The first years of life are a critical period for brain development. At this time, the brain is at its most malleable, which presents a time of both great opportunity and vulnerability for a baby. Social interactions during this period are essential for a baby’s language development, so it’s important for parents to understand the vital role they play in their little one’s learning success.

Babies start to learn about language even before they begin to speak. When they cry or babble, and receive a caring response from an adult in return, they are forming and strengthening neural connections related to communication and social skills. These interactions are known as “serve and return” interactions, and are critical for development. Interactive relationships between parents and their babies are not only expected, but are also essential to avoid developmental delays or a negative impact on future well-being. The quality of the baby’s environment and the availability of enriching experiences early on will be critical in determining the strength of his or her future brain architecture.

Continue reading

The first few years: linguistic development

Your baby’s language is developing way before he utters his first word. He’ll be tuning in to the outside world from the womb – listening to your voice and change of tones. He’ll continue doing this during the first months – figuring out what the rules of language are, and observing how grown-ups around him use it to communicate.

His first attempts at language will be no more than cries, coos, and gurgles that will turn into babbling vowel and consonant combinations in the third or fourth month. You’ll learn that language is more than words – smiles, and different cries will communicate pleasure or displeasure. Wait for the big breakthrough – his first word might come as early as six months! However, that connection between ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ and you might not be present yet. You’ll have to wait another six months for that! However, your baby probably understands way more than he can say at most points. So, avoid swearing unless you don’t want to be flattered by his imitation later on!

Continue reading