The one thing you can do to make your baby a better reader
Revealed: The amazingly simple thing you can do to make your baby a better reader – and it won’t cost you time or money
- Research shows is a simple way to help your child develop better language skills
- Children with a larger vocabulary tend to fare better with reading at school
- The method isn’t time consuming and doesn’t involve expensive technology
- Instead, you need to have a rear-facing pram for more interaction with your baby
Literacy rates among Australian children are a concern for many parents.
So it makes sense to think about what might be the best way to make sure they have all they need, even from a very young age.
Talking to a child as much as possible, including when they are in the pram, can help kids build better language skills, according to children’s author Melanie Notaras.
However, to be clear, the pram needs to be rear-facing rather than one that faces outwards.
Pushing a baby in a rear-facing pram while talking to them can help a child to develop better language skills (stock image)
The reason for this is because babies and toddlers who ride facing their parents have more face-to-face time with adults, Ms Notaras wrote for Kidspot.
She believes this level of verbal interaction can help children to develop a much larger vocabulary so that by the time they reach school their language skills are naturally more advanced.
And the rear-facing pram theory is backed by research.
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Children with a larger vocabulary find learning to read easier because their language skills are more advanced (stock image)
According to linguist Patricia Kulh, babies only learn language though face-to-face experience with live people and not from people on television or static objects they tested showing a teddy bear while playing Mandarin to English-speaking babies).
This means babies and toddlers are learning nothing when they’re in the forward-facing pram, Ms Notaras explained.
‘But young children in rear-facing prams have the language advantage because their parent or carer is constantly engaging with them through chatter or song, directing their attention (and word identification) to objects, places and feelings,’ she said.
Spending time chatting to a child in a rear-facing pram for just one hour a day over three years would add up to 1095 hours of additional learning
She said that as well as constantly chatting with their child, parents/carers are naturally interacting in a more intensive way by interpreting a child’s babble and correcting their speech.
Ms Notaras said one hour a day in a rear-facing pram over three years would add up to 1095 additional hours in extra language building.
How Australian kids are faring with literacy:
* Australian children are showing up to kindergarten less prepared than ever before
* Teachers and early childhood educators are reporting more of their students across all demographics are struggling with basic literacy
* Engaging your children in conversations more – even from a very young age – and making reading time fun and interactive are some strategies that could help
‘When kindergarten kids already understand the words, all they have to do is decode the letters. The sounds quickly fix to the meaning, and reading the word is easily remembered.’
Ms Notaras said if a child hasn’t encountered the word before they have to learn two steps – both the meaning plus the decoding.
And she added words often need to be heard more than once to be understood and remembered – something class may not have time for.
While the author said there’s are always other factors at play in a child’s development, a rear-facing pram can support a child’s learning in a simple way.
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