Tag Archives: Golinkoff

The Conversational Duet


Following up on the last article discussed on this blog is an article about the importance of parents speaking to their children from the Dallas News.

Calling the ideal way to share words “the conversational duet,” Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff say it is more important for parents to talk WITH their children, rather than to simply bombard them with words.

They describe a study that “investigated word-learning by children who were directly engaging with others on television and video-chat platforms like Skype. The study found that while children under 3 years old learn virtually nothing from hearing words on a television screen, their response to interactions on video chat were indistinguishable from in-person communication.”  Yet some adults are afraid to put children under 3 in front of any type of electronic screen due to warnings from the AMA!

In another study described the authors, parents tried to teach their children two  words with and without interruptions. The researchers observed parents who spoke uninterruptedly with their children and those who were interrupted by a phone call in the middle of interacting with their children. Their conclusion? “Children learn words in the uninterrupted condition but not in the interrupted condition. When we break the back-and-forth interaction, children do not realize the benefits of the duet. Of course, this is not to say that parents can’t take calls, but just to note that language learning doesn’t happen when conversations are interrupted.”

The final message in this article is one that matches the mission of Mother Goose on the Loose: “If we want to truly move the needle on early language and literacy, we must jump from messages about the quantity of words children hear to messages about the quality of language within caring relationships.” For MGOL facilitators, the message is clear; continue promoting conversation duets in the context of warm and loving relationships between parents and their children.

Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff. “How and how much we talk to children matters.” The Dallas Morning News, Published: . http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20150612-kathy-hirsh-pasek-and-roberta-michnick-golinkoff-how-and-how-much-we-talk-to-children-matters.ece