Power of parent talk

Parents can have considerable influence over their children's language and brain development by simply engaging them in conversation, researchers say

Thirty million words - that was the eye-popping figure quoted in the mid-1990s by American researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley, for the word gap that develops by age four between children from low-income homes and their peers in higher socioeconomic groups.

The two researchers, who spent 2½ years studying children, found that a child whose parents are highly educated and working professionals is exposed to roughly 1,540 more spoken words an hour than a typical child on welfare - with some caveats throw in.

Please or to continue reading the full article.

Get unlimited access to all stories at $0.99/month
  • Latest headlines and exclusive stories
  • In-depth analyses and award-winning multimedia content
  • Get access to all with our no-contract promotional package at only $0.99/month for the first 3 months*

*Terms and conditions apply.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2020, with the headline 'Power of parent talk'. Subscribe