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Decoding the mysteries of a child’s developing brain

The Washington Post – Jenna Gallegos

It’s back-to-school season. Parents mark their youngsters’ height on the wall and marvel at how much they’ve grown, but what’s going on just below the pencil line in that child’s brain? We know brain development continues from infancy to adulthood, but many parents underestimate how much a child’s brain changes from year to year and how those changes can influence behavior.”(more)

Bilingual Kids Learn New Languages Better

The U.S. News and World Report – Robert Preidt

“Bilingual children have an easier time learning additional languages later in life than those who speak only one language, researchers report. For a new, small study, researchers included 13 college students who learned English and Mandarin at a young age, and 16 college students who spoke only English.”(more)

Really? Really. How Our Brains Figure Out What Words Mean Based On How They’re Said

KQED News Mind/Shift – Jon Hamilton

“It’s not just what you say that matters. It’s how you say it. Take the phrase, “Here’s Johnny.” When Ed McMahon used it to introduce Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, the words were an enthusiastic greeting. But in The Shining, Jack Nicholson used the same two words to convey murderous intent. Now scientists are reporting in the journal Science that they have identified specialized brain cells that help us understand what a speaker really means. These cells do this by keeping track of changes in the pitch of the voice.”(more)

A child’s spoken vocabulary helps them when it comes to reading new words for the first time

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Children find it easier to spell a word when they’ve already heard it spoken, a new study led by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) at Macquarie University has found. The findings are the first to provide evidence about how oral vocabulary in children is linked to their ability to learn to read new words. “We found that when children have heard a new word spoken, and know how it is pronounced and what it means, they are then able to process this word with more speed when they have to read it for the first time,” explained Signy Wegener, lead researcher of the study.”(more)

Who learns foreign language better—introverts or extraverts?

Phys.Org – Staff Writer

“Extravert Chinese students learning English as a second language are likely to perform better in speaking and reading, but less proficient in listening than their introvert counterparts, according to a study published in Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (JSSH). In Chinese culture, students are expected to listen to their teachers attentively, as opposed to Western culture where class participation is encouraged. The Chinese culture is influenced by Confucian values, including collectivism, socialisation for achievement, and high acceptance of power and authority. Some studies have suggested that such introversion hinders Chinese students’ ability to learn English as a second language.”(more)

All Parents Should Master the 5 Rs With Their Kids

Good Housekeeping – Caroline Picard

“Everyone’s heard of the three R’s, but reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic don’t have anything on the five R’s. When it comes to early education, pediatricians recommend a different mnemonic device for helping little ones get the tools they need. The five R’s come from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Early Brain and Child Development program. Their stance is that informed parenting during the first few years of life can prevent lots of potential problems down the road. Equipping kids with social, emotional and language skills while they’re young helps them better handle challenges and stress later on.”(more)