Language Tips from Infant and Child Studies at the University of Maryland


Did you know that …?

1. Children who have difficulty speaking aloud can sometimes be (mis)identified as having reading difficulties, as well. Many reading tests include an oralproduction component, so if a child has difficulty speaking, they may be identified as having difficulty reading, even when they can read for comprehension perfectly well. Having a good diagnostic assessment is important to ensure the best therapy possible.

2. One of the most powerful predictors of reading acquisition is vocabulary size in kindergarten. Help build your preschool child’s vocabulary by using rare, sophisticated or unusual words. For example, bake a cake with your child and introduce and define the words “whisk” and “blend.” Our recent study found that various qualities of parent input, such as exposing toddler and preschoolers to sophisticated vocabulary words, predicted children’s vocabulary ability years later.

3. The more that parents talk with their young children, the better the children’s language is likely to be. The amount of parental language that young children hear is a strong predictor of the children’s vocabulary development.

4. Infants have far more difficulty understanding what you say to them when there is background noise. Even the sound of a TV or radio playing in the background can make it difficult for young children to understand and learn from what you say.

These tips were supplied by Infant and Child Studies at the University of Maryland, where families may participate in studies about how children learn language; interact with others; develop reading and math skills, emotions and memory; and many other research areas. If you have children between the ages of 2 months and 18 years, please contact Infant and Child Studies directly for more information.

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