From the BRILLIANT BLOG: The Importance of “Talking Math” With Kids
Monday, January 13, 2014
Do you speak math with your kids?
Many of us feel completely comfortable talking about letters, words and sentences with our children—reading to them at night, helping them decode their own books, noting messages on street signs and billboards.
But speaking to them about numbers, fractions, and decimals? Not so much. And yet studies show that “number talk” at home is a key predictor of young children’s achievement in math once they get to school. Research provides evidence that gender is also part of the equation: Parents speak to their daughters about numbers far less than their sons.
A study published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology drew on a collection of recordings of mothers talking to their toddlers, aged 20 to 27 months. Alicia Chang, a researcher at the University of Delaware, and two coauthors determined that mothers spoke to boys about number concepts twice as often as they spoke to girls. Children this age are rapidly building their vocabularies, Chang notes, and helping them become familiar with number words can promote their interest in math later on.