30 Million Word Gap

Research on early literacy and the 30 million word gap…

  • The brain develops most during the first years of life. Children’s early experiences have a big impact on their future ability to learn.
  • The amount of different words children hear by age three (3) is directly related to how well children can read at age nine (9).
  • Important to children’s future success is the amount of praise they receive.
  • Differences in families’ language use and amount of praise are huge and children’s patterns of talk come to match their parents.
  • Research shows that by age three (3) children in more talkative families will have heard 30 million more words than children in less talkative families – a 30 million word gap!
  • And children in more talkative families will also have received 400,000 more encouragements than children in less talkative families!
  • By age three (3), children from the most talkative and encouraging families scored approximately 25 points higher on IQ tests than children from the least talkative and encouraging families.
  • These are lasting differences. Children’s scores on vocabulary, language, and school tests at age nine (9) showed a strong connection with their word use at age three (3) and an even stronger connection with the talking and praise they had received from their parents when they were very young.
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