Conversational Turns Linked to Better Language Development in Children Parents who talk with their children play a critical role in early speech and language development, indicates a study published in Psychological Science. In the study, cognitive scientists from the MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research linked interactive dialogue (versus just exposure to words) to improved language skills in children. ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   May 01, 2018
Conversational Turns Linked to Better Language Development in Children
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Development / Normal Language Processing / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   May 01, 2018
Conversational Turns Linked to Better Language Development in Children
The ASHA Leader, May 2018, Vol. 23, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.23052018.12
The ASHA Leader, May 2018, Vol. 23, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.23052018.12
Parents who talk with their children play a critical role in early speech and language development, indicates a study published in Psychological Science. In the study, cognitive scientists from the MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research linked interactive dialogue (versus just exposure to words) to improved language skills in children.
Using LENA (Language Environment Analysis) technology, researchers recorded every word spoken or heard by 36 children (4–6 years old) for two days. Analysis of the recordings noted the number of words spoken by the child, the number of words spoken to the child, and the number of times the child and an adult engaged in a back-and-forth conversational exchange.

“The important thing is not just to talk to your child, but to talk with your child.”

Not only did more conversational turns correlate with better scores on language skills tests, but brain scans of these children showed increased activity in Broca’s area (an area of the brain linked to speech production and language processing).
“The important thing is not just to talk to your child, but to talk with your child,” says lead author Rachel Romeo, a graduate student at both the MIT McGovern Institute and the division of medical sciences at Harvard. “It’s not just about dumping language into your child’s brain, but to actually carry on a conversation with them.”
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May 2018
Volume 23, Issue 5