Ever heard that piece of keeping it simple advice: never use a $10 word where a 2-cent one will do? Well, forget all that. At least when it comes to talking to your kids. Those $10 words? They’re like an investment in your kids’ education — one that will pay off earlier than you may think.

A new study in the journal Child Development found that the richness of vocabulary during the preschool years predicted Kindergarten vocabulary, which correlated with fourth-grade reading.

Author of the study, David Dickinson, professor of education at Vanderbilt University, examined transcripts of recordings from several preschool classrooms which served low-income children. The teachers in these classrooms were also interviewed and their classrooms were observed for their support of language and literacy.

The sample was small, but Dickinson found strong evidence for a connection between the richness of vocabulary in early school experiences and literacy skills, such as reading and comprehension, just a few years down the road. And, yes, that vocabulary often came from books and group activities — planned efforts. But what’s particularly interesting is that some of the best results were simply from informal interaction between teacher and child.

From Futurity, which reported on the study:

“While raising the level of interaction in group activities is important, some of my stronger results in this study are seen from informal interactions between teacher and child, showing the importance of elevated language during times such as play and lunch,” [Dickinson] says.

This is an important observation, since preschools are increasingly becoming academic — where reading and early math skills are replacing play, exploration and stories in an effort to get kids ready for Kindergarten, which itself has become a year of academic skills acquisition.

Learning ABCs at age 3 might feel like an awesome accomplishment, but looks like using the term “awesome accomplishment” during the late-toddler stage might actually mean something in the long run.

Kids are only as smart as you’ll let them be.

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Source: Babble – http://goo.gl/ckRjp