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The Brain-Changing Power of Conversation: Interplay between parents and children ignites the brain and boosts its response to language, spurring lasting literacy skills (2018) (Harvard Graduate School of Education)


For parents, daycare providers, and early educators, new research describes a simple and powerful way to build children’s brains: talk with them, early and often.

A study in Psychological Science shows how conversation — the interplay between a parent or caregiver and a child — ignites the language centers in a child’s brain. It’s the first study to show a relationship between the words children hear at home and the growth of their neural processing capacities — showing, in effect, that how parents talk to their children changes children’s brains.

What Parents and Early Educators Should Know
  • From infancy, parents should look for chances to have conversations with their child — even if it's just responding to coos or gurgles. 
  • Conversational interplay between caregiver and child is enough to transform the biology of kids' brains. The quality of these exchanges is more important than the quantity of words children hear.
  • Conversation drives literacy skills and cognitive development across all socioeconomic levels, regardless parents' income or education. It's a powerful, actionable, and simple tool for all parents to use.


Communication/Language Early Childhood Early Intervention Parent/Family Preschool