Representational Image
Representational Image

Dear parents, if you want to boost your child’s academic performance, let them chat more. Researchers have found that young children go on to achieve more academic success when their verbal skills are enhanced.

The study, by researchers at the University of York in the UK, looked at why children from wealthier and well-educated family backgrounds tend to do better at school.

The researchers found that children from families of higher socioeconomic status had better language abilities at nursery school age and that these verbal skills boosted their later academic performance throughout the school.

"Our findings show that a child's learning at home, when they are under five, is really important to their chances of later academic success," said study lead author Sophie von Stumm, Professor at the University of York.

For the findings, published in the journal Child Development, the researchers looked at data from nearly 700 British children.

The children's pre-school ability was tested at four-years-old and their educational outcomes were tracked throughout school up until the age of 16. According to the researchers, differences in language skills between children explained around 50 per cent of the effect of family background on children's achievement in the first year of school.

This achievement gap widened over the course of their education, the study suggests.

"Children from more advantaged backgrounds are more familiar before starting school with the language patterns and linguistic codes that are used in formal educational settings and are expected by teachers," Stumm said.

"Not all children get the same start in life, but this study highlights the importance of helping parents of all backgrounds to engage with their children in activities which enhance verbal skills - such as reading bedtime stories and engaging the child in conversations," Stumm added.

According to the researchers, activities designed to improve verbal skills boost cognitive, social and emotional development, in addition to benefitting parent-child bonding.

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