Make Your Child a Millionaire
...in words, that is.
According to an Ohio State University study, reading to children during their first five years of life may give them a 1.4 million-word edge over other kindergarteners. The researchers examined 60 of the most common children's books in order to estimate the number of words. The greatest benefit was found when parents read five books per day to their children.
Reading books to your child provides them with vocabulary that they wouldn't necessarily hear in everyday conversation. Choose books with settings that are different than your own environment. For example, if you live in the city, choose a book about life on the farm. Your child will then learn words such as, silo, haystack, harvest, crops, etc. It is normal for children to want to read the same book over and over, this only helps to solidify the new vocabulary that they have learned. Don't be surprised if they slip their new vocabulary words into everyday conversation.
So, how do e-books measure up and do they provide the same million-word effect? Researchers at the University of Michigan found that parents and children verbalized less frequently when using an enhanced (sound effects/animation) e-book or basic e-book, as opposed to a print-book. When using a print-book, there are more opportunities for parents to stop reading and ask some questions, discuss the pictures, and have the child make some guesses about what will happen next (early inferencing).
Based on these two studies, one can conclude that in order to reach maximum benefit (and make your child a "word-millionaire"), one must read often and from print-books. Once again, the old-fashioned way outperforms technology with regard to child development.
For more ideas on how to engage your child in reading, check out the other OFY blogs and the research-based activity cards that accompany each OFY infant backpack and toddler tote.
Make your child a millionaire today...it's all in the bag!