Current research on early language and brain development

This is for the people who are as into research as I am. I love this stuff.

A while back, I went to a seminar at the Women’s University Club here in Seattle. The speaker was Dr. Patricia Kuhl. Some of you might know her – I have to say that everybody I have encountered who has met her thinks she is brilliant and I thought she was amazing. She made me think a lot about how we begin interacting with our children as infants – or even in utero.

I’m putting a link to her webpage here. If you’re interested in early brain development of children and language development (all you early learning folks – this is key for school readiness), you have to check out her page.

Dr. Patricia Kuhl, Ph.D.

She has a lot of research links with reprints of her articles (click Research down at the bottom of her page).

What really fascinates me is how live interaction with speech is the key for sophisticated language learning. Kids learn nothing (in terms of language development) from television and radio – it has to be live! Also, motherese – that sing-songy language that all of us seem to instinctually do with infants and small children – is essential in learning the sounds of our native languages.

What does all this mean for Open Arms and new mothers? Moms – talk to your babies! Dads too! Not everyone really understands the importance of language exposure – live conversation and interaction, not tv-watching. If we want children’s brains to be ready for school and for learning language, we have to talk to our babies! They are ready to absorb what we give them, and babies’ brains measurably change as we talk with them.

Anyway if this sort of thing interests you, check out the webpage. I think this work is just amazing.

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