A teacher recently told me about some research that has been done in to the number of words children from different backgrounds will have heard by the age of three. It suggests that there is a huge gap between children from the wealthiest and poorest families. As the amount of words a child is exposed to influences their language development this is obviously an important consideration.
Part of our discussion focussed on the fact that it would be easy to look at the stereotype of a professional family providing more language than a working class family. However, this is not always the case. The professional family may have little time to spend with their children who could spend a lot of time in child care. It is also important to consider the quality of communication. A child may hear lots of words from the television but interaction with an adult would be more important.
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