Giving children nonverbal clues can help them learn more words, a new study shows.
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that kids learn when parents and caregivers use gestures to emphasize what they're teaching, such as pointing to a book while saying the word book.
Previous research has shown that parents with higher income and more education talk more to their children, which boosts their vocabularies. But this study showed that nonverbal clues helped children learn more words regardless of their parents' socioeconomic status. It's a technique that can cross boundaries of income and education to give all kids a leg up in vocabulary lessons.
Differences in parents' nonverbal clues explain about a quarter of the differences in kids' vocabularies when they enter kindergarten, the study found.