[Reading-For-Healthy-Families] New research on young kids and conversation

Katie Anderson anderson_katie at oslmac.osl.state.or.us
Wed Dec 2 08:53:24 PST 2009

Hello!  In my professional reading today I found an article that may interest you.  I've included a link for those of you who want to read it in full, and I've pulled out a few key findings for those of you who are too pressed for time right now.

Why Ask Why? New Research Looks at Children's Questions: http://tiny.cc/PEKGS 
-Maggie Severns
-December 1, 2009

This is an article about two recent studies to learn why children 2-5 years old ask questions.  With your training and experience, I don't think the findings will surprise you in the least.  However, they provide you with more research to share with parents and childcare provides to encourage them to engage young children in conversation. 

Here are two quotes from the article that sum up the key points:

Their findings provide new evidence of the power of language  interactions between adults and children – driving home the point that  the strongest learning environments are those in which adults engage in  rich conversations with children, even those as young as 2.

“The fact that kids as young as 2 or 3 years of age are asking  questions and actually seeking out information is an opportunity for parents,” Frazier said. The research should be inspiring to teachers in  child care and preschool settings as well: it shows the power of an  adult who will take the time to listen to a child’s question, answer  and elaborate, listen to the child’s response, answer and elaborate  again, and so on. 
[This sounds like dialogic reading except the child is asking the question!]

The author of the article poses some excellent question based on this new research:

How do we best engage children who are less likely to ask questions about things they don’t understand?

What is the best way for their teachers to respond?

             Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
       Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
               katie.anderson at state.or.us, 503-378-2528
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