March 15-21 is Brain Awareness Week. The idea is to “foster public enthusiasm and support for brain science.” Brains are AMAZING! Working 24/7 to keep us breathing, walking, talking, learning and living. Science has learned so much about how our brains work.
As a speech therapist and an author that writes for children, I am fascinated by how a child learns language. For example, did you know that babies throughout the world babble the same sounds. Dr. Patricia K. Kuhl calls them “citizens of the world”. At that point they could learn any language. Over time they weed out the sounds they don’t hear when their care takers speak. Dr. Kuhl has done some fascinating research which you can hear about in this TED talk.
Her research suggests that babies learn language best from a speaker that is present with them. Not from audio only. Not from a person they are watching on a screen. Listening to language helps an infant learn the sounds of their native language. And the words, sentence construction, prosody and intonation. So, it follows that the more language a child hears the better they will be at using it. And what better way to provide an environment filled with language than to read, read, read to your children.
Books provide rich vocabulary, varied sentence structure and opportunities to engage in conversations about the books. Some find it difficult to talk to a baby since they don’t talk back, so books help immerse your child in language so they can begin to babble, then jargon and finally talk back to you!
Now, as promised, a recipe! Oatmeal is brain food and who doesn’t love a Butterscotch Bar! These are a favorite at our house!