New York Times, Motoko Rich, October 21., 2013

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Some children learn to understand and talk more quickly than others, but when do you think some children fall behind others? In kindergarten as they build literacy skills? This article suggests much earlier: By 18 months, when children generally only know a handful of words, toddlers from less affluent families are already behind their peers from more affluent and talkative homes. By age 2, the gap has widened to no less than 6 months!! Toddlers from more taciturn and less affluent homes are already behind by no less than a quarter of their entire life-time.

Since gaps start to increase rather than to shrink, this research suggests that investing in children’s lives with lots of conversations has to start much earlier: Well before kindergarten – as children learn to understand and talk in their first three years. Read more about this exciting research and its policy implications…

Was the discovery of a word gap at this young age a surprise to you? What do you think it means for our interactions with babies?