Invest in Us has a new resource available based on a presentation by Dr. Kathy, Hirsh-Pasek, Temple University Lefkowitz Professor of Psychology and Director, Infant Language Laboratory.
“Today, we have a great deal of scientific evidence on the language and literacy development of infants. Much of it reinforces our intuition to engage children through relationships and to impart knowledge through intense interaction. Yet, the evidence also strongly suggests that there is much more we can do as parents and teachers to build stronger language and literacy skills in young children.There is a science to early language and literacy development. We can better prepare children for later school achievement by taking what we know and making it an intentional and integral part of early childhood education—particularly among at-risk children and families.
Parents and close caregivers are the main teachers of these critical early skills, yet not every one of them has the time, resources or ability to tackle the job. Providing parents and close caregivers with the lessons learned from science will help equalize the language and literacy skills of children when they enter school—and go a long way toward preventing the achievement gap.”
The paper highlights five lessons:
- Lesson 1: Learning starts with engagement in relationships and interests.
- Lesson 2: Talk with infants, but let them drive the conversation.
- Lesson 3: Frequency Matters—infants and toddlers learn the language they hear the most.
- Lesson 4: Infants need to hear diverse examples of words and grammar.
- Lesson 5: Bilingualism is the norm and should be encouraged.