Early cognitive and communicative experiences of young children differ dramatically in relation to their socioeconomic background. For example, an average child on welfare has half as much experience per hour (616 words/hour) as an average working-class child (1,251 words/hour) and less than one-third that of an average child living in a professional family (2,153 words/hour) (Hart & Risley 2003). These differences in early language experience result in a “vocabulary gap” of around 30 million words between children from the wealthiest and poorest families as well as differences in tackling the cognitive challenges of their daily environment.
Reading picture- and storybooks is a great way to promote children’s early language skills. Parent-preschooler reading is related to language growth, emergent literacy, and reading achievement (Bus, IJzendoorn, & Pellegrini 1995). However, more recent studies found that how one reads a book to children can influence their learning achievements (Brownell et al. 2013; Read 2014).
The study group ‘what is Waza thinking’ will act by developing a new book format to provide parents with a fun tool to motivate and enhance the cognitive development of their children.