Pre-schoolers pick up language faster in classmates’ presence

May 15th, 2009 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 15 (IANS) Pre-schoolers pick up language faster in the presence of classmates with better linguistic skills.
Of course, they also learn how to speak and understand language by the way their parents at home and teachers at school speak.

Researchers from University of Virginia and Ohio State University, looked at more than 1,800 pre-schoolers in over 450 nursery classrooms in 11 US states.

They tested children’s skills in “receptive language” (including their understanding of vocabulary and grammar) and “expressive language” (including their speaking skills, which also involve vocabulary and grammar) in English at the start and end of pre-kindergarten.

Children’s abilities to both speak and understand words developed faster when they were with classmates with better language skills.

“Classmates are an important resource for all children, especially for children who begin preschool with higher language skills,” suggests Andrew J. Mashburn, senior research scientist at the University of Virginia and study co-author.

The study was published in the May-June issue of Child Development.

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