Washington: Next time when you have a story time with your baby don't forget to pay attention to his babbling and respond as the interactions during the reading session can be the key to his language development.
A new study from the University of Iowa looked at how mothers responded to their 12-month-olds during book reading, puppet play and toy play.
During the study, researchers found the babies made more speech-like sounds during reading than when playing with puppets or toys.
They also discovered mothers were more responsive to these types of sounds while reading to their child than during the other activities.
They claimed that their findings might explain why book reading has been linked to language development in young children.
Researcher Julie Gros-Louis said that a lot of research showed that book reading even to infants as young as six months of age is important to language outcomes, but in the study she is looking at the specifics, which could be responding to speech-like sounds.
The study also found that no matter the context, mothers' responses to speech-like sounds were often imitations or an expansion of the sound.
Gros-Louis said she used mothers and their babies for this study because their interactions have been studied more than those between fathers and their children. Thus, she could more readily compare her findings to past studies.
Researchers claimed that their findings can contribute in understanding how reading to preverbal infants is associated with language outcomes, which is not well understood in contrast to reading interactions with older toddlers.
The research is published in the Journal Language Learning and Development.