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Young Children Thrive on 30,000 Words a Day
Date:9/17/2007

New study confirms: talk is key to school success

ORANGE, Calif., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- For children between birth and age 3, the most powerful number is 30,000 -- the number of words they need to hear every day from their parents and caregivers, to ensure optimal language development and academic success, according to the Power of Talk research study.

Infoture, a Colorado-based company with scientific advisory board members in California, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Tennessee and Texas, is receiving international recognition for its Power of Talk study. The study confirms and expands on the well-known benchmark study by Drs. Betty Hart and Todd Risley that showed children who hear at least 30,000 words a day will thrive regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. That's the same number heard in 18 and a half readings of Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat."

"I tell parents the best way to increase the speech and language skills of young children is engaging in lots of talk and lots of reading right from the start," says Judy Montgomery, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, professor of special education and literacy at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and an Infoture scientific advisory board member. "I remind parents to speak often, use lots of expression and describe what's around them. It's not educational toys, TV or videos that help a child develop language; it's talk from an engaged caregiver."

Conducted by a team of scientists, including language experts and speech technology engineers, the Power of Talk study (http://www.lenababy.com/Research.aspx) examines the relationship between talk and child language development. Some key findings include:

-- Parents estimated they talked more with their children than they

actually did.

-- Parents of advanced children in the 90th to 99th percentile on language

assessments spoke substantially more to their children than did parents

of children who were not as advanced.

-- Most language training for children came from mothers, with mothers

(both working and stay-at-home) accounting for 78 percent of total

talk.

-- Mothers talked more to daughters than they did to sons.

-- Parents talked more to first-born children than to children who

followed in the birth order.

-- Most adult talk between parent and child occurred in the late

afternoon and early evening.

Infoture used revolutionary technology to develop a system that measures the quality of a child's natural language environment and language development through the number of words and conversational turns. Named LENA (Language ENvironment Analysis), this device is now available to parents for tracking words and conversational turns with their children. The LENA feedback reports help parents improve a child's cumulative language experience and accelerate that child's language, cognitive development and preparedness for school.

Jill Gilkerson, Ph.D., director of language research for Infoture, helped author the Power of Talk study. "Most parents want to provide outstanding language environments for their children -- but they have no way of knowing what level of language input their children are receiving. They are not aware of inconsistencies and low-talk times during a day or week," said Gilkerson. "With LENA, parents can make educated choices based on real information and not on guesswork. And that means they have one less thing to worry about. In fact, the LENA reports might be compared to food journals that dieters keep, because the perception of how much a person eats (or in this case, talks) is often far different from the reality."

"Talk is for everyone," added Mia Moe, director of marketing for Infoture. "A solid foundation in language advances a child's potential and future academic success, regardless of socioeconomic status. If we can focus on talk as the number-one priority, then all children can be successful."

About Infoture

Founded in 2004, Infoture, Inc. is the Boulder-based developer of LENA, or the Language ENvironment Analysis system. Infoture's goal is to help parents accelerate their child's language, cognitive and social development by providing a means to measure their child's language environment, and to communicate this information so parents can provide the richest language environment possible. Infoture comprises a team of world-class scientists skilled in computerized speech and speaker recognition, microelectronics, statistical research, and children's language acquisition and development. For more information, visit http://www.lenababy.com.


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SOURCE Infoture, Inc.
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