How much fathers talk to young children has a direct positive effect on their kindergarten performance, according to a study by researchers in the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The study, published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology in January, concluded that more-talkative dads are a benefit to their children. Previous research has shown that the size of a mother’s vocabulary and frequency of communication affect her child’s vocabulary and preliteracy skills. This is one of the first studies to look specifically at fathers’ verbal interactions with their children.
The study looked at mostly poor, rural families and was able to isolate the effect of fathers’ spoken language to show that it made a difference above and beyond language heard from mothers.
A version of this article appeared in the April 01, 2015 edition of Education Week as Early Years