When our children were little, their grandparents really liked talking “baby talk” to them. I’d watch as supposedly intelligent adults spent hours talking nonsense to unresponsive infants. Both baby and adult seemed to enjoy it.
I hated it.
Why? Because my wife and I were convinced that it stunted brain development. Because of that, and because we had no desire to turn our own brains to mush by babbling like idiots, we always talked conversationally to our children from the day they were born. Sure, for the first year it was more of a monologue than a dialogue, but that was fine. We got used to speaking to them like they were adults, and also proceeded with the assumption that they could understand any concept thrown at them as long as it was explained in a way they understood.
We felt strongly enough about this that we eventually asked the grandparents to stop with the babbling. They thought we were killjoys, but they complied.
Vindication is oh-so-sweet. Not only were we right, but we were a living example of why there’s an enduring achievement gap in this country.
This according to the New York Times, which hides its best stuff behind the Times Select wall. In an article in the Nov. 26 magazine, writer Paul Tough explores the challenges facing the No Child Left Behind act. After noting that black children are three times more likely to grow up in poverty than white children, he writes, researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley decided to conduct an in-depth study of 42 families. What they found should suprise people only in its scope.
(continued at Midtopia)