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Honing Students’ Speaking Skills

Edutopia – Heather Wolpert-Gawron

“It’s been a long time since schools focused solely on the three Rs—reading, writing, and arithmetic. Along the way, we realized that there’s so much more that defines a successful student and citizen, and that schools play a central role in training students to improve on a multitude of skills and abilities.” (more)

9 Ways to Encourage Baby’s Speech Development

The Huffington Post – Dr. Gail Gross

“Your baby is a social animal and is dependent on your reactions to his efforts at language. You can reinforce your baby’s speech in a variety of ways by capturing your child’s attention and engaging him in the process of learning. Here are nine ways you can help encourage your baby’s speech development:”(more)

For Kids Who Stutter, Rhythm Perception May Be Key

HealthDay – Amy Norton

“Children who stutter may have difficulty perceiving musical rhythms, a small study suggests. Researchers say the findings could offer some clues to the origins of the speech problem — and even hint at potential therapies…However, the study does not prove that problems with perceiving rhythm actually cause stuttering…Around 5 percent of all children stutter at some point in their lives — usually beginning between the ages of 2 and 5…At one time, stuttering was viewed as an emotional problem, Grossman said. But researchers now know that children who stutter show differences in how their brains process language…the findings raise the possibility that “rhythm training” — including through music — could help some kids with stuttering.”(more)

Dads ‘use adult tone not baby talk’

BBC News – Judith Burns

“Scientists at Washington State University used speech recognition software to analyse differences in parents’ speech patterns…The research detected distinct differences between the ways mothers and fathers spoke to their pre-school children…Mothers’ “baby talk” is believed to promote bonding. Fathers, by contrast, used intonation patterns more similar to those they used when speaking to adult friends and colleagues. But this did not imply fathers were failing to engage with their children, said lead researcher Mark VanDam, professor of speech and hearing sciences at Washington State University. “This isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s not a failing of the fathers,” said Prof VanDam. He suggested the different approach could help children deal with unfamiliar speech patterns and acquire language as they grew up.”(more)

This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain On Music

NPR – Cory Turner

“Musical training doesn’t just improve your ear for music — it also helps your ear for speech. That’s the takeaway from an unusual new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers found that kids who took music lessons for two years didn’t just get better at playing the trombone or violin; they found that playing music also helped kids’ brains process language.” (more)