Paths to Literacy

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Association of the Type of Toy Used During Play With the Quantity and Quality of Parent-Infant Communication

Father reading to young child

This research study examines which types of everyday activities promote the best language environment for children by comparing communicative exchanges between parents and children using books, traditional toys, and electronic toys.  The study found that "For all outcome measures, play with books provided a better communication interaction than play with electronic toys."

Abstract

Importance:

The early language environment of a child influences language outcome, which in turn affects reading and academic success. It is unknown which types of everyday activities promote the best language environment for children.

Objective:

To investigate whether the type of toy used during play is associated with the parent-infant communicative interaction.

Conclusions and Relevance:

Play with electronic toys is associated with decreased quantity and quality of language input compared with play with books or traditional toys. To promote early language development, play with electronic toys should be discouraged. Traditional toys may be a valuable alternative for parent-infant play time if book reading is not a preferred activity.

Read the full article.

See also Electronic Baby Toys Associated with Decrease in Quality and Quantity of Language in Infants.