In the United States and Canada, doctors are encouraged to promote early literacy to families. A new study has revealed that toddlers whose parents spend a lot of time chatting with them are more likely to have higher IQs and better language skills a decade later than their peers hanging in silence. According to Jill Gilkerson, senior director of research and evaluation at the LENA Foundation, conversational turns - talking in a reciprocal way - is more important for brain development than just being exposed to words.

Actually, frequent chatting with young children accounted for up to 27 percent of increased performance in verbal comprehension 10 years later, even after taking the socioeconomic factors into account. "We were expecting to see correlations based on the previous research with younger children, but can't help but be astounded that automated language measures collected at 18 months can predict anything 10 years later," said Gilkerson.

Picture: Olivia & Dad (