How would you like your child to hear almost 300,000 more words before they start kindy?
They could, if you read them just one book a day.
That’s the finding from new research published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.
Researchers at Ohio State University estimated the number of words a child would hear from various amounts of being read to, up until the age of 5.
Here's how many words kids would hear by the time they are 5 years old:
- Never read to: 4,662 words
- 1-2 times per week: 63,570 words
- 3-5 times per week: 169,520 words
- One book a day: 296,660 words
- Five books a day: 1,483,300 words.
This research focussed on vocabulary words, as distinct from everyday conversational words in the famous 1999 study by Hart & Risley which estimated a 30 million word gap between low and high socio-economic children.
The vocabulary words children hear in books are more complex, difficult words than conversational words, and may be important for learning to read.
One book a day should not be impossible, even for time pressured parents or caregivers. And the advantage for a child could be significant. According the study, kids who hear more vocabulary words are going to be better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school and are likely to pick up reading skills more quickly and easily.