Most would agree that reading books to your children is good for their development and learning. But have you ever wondered why that is?
On June 29 Professor Sheena Reilly from the Menzies Health Institute presented at our Friends of the Library event, Spoken and written language: the foundation for learning.
The popular event attracted a variety of people from parents and childcare workers to fellow academics from across the university.
Professor Reilly presented a range of her longitudinal research results and shared amazing insights about how our first nine months in our mother’s womb is where we start to build our language skills.
Ever wondered if it’s our environment, upbringing or genes that shapes our language development? Turns out it’s all of the above. Professor Reilly explained that there’s a lot of factors that influence the way children develop their literacy skills and all play an important role.
She also highlighted the change over time and the history of language within our society. The 21st century has seen a shift away from manual work to the service industry, which demands a high standard of literacy skills.
These days language development challenges are becoming more common with one in five children starting school with poor language development. In fact, they are even more common then more high profile conditions like peanut allergies.
But thanks to researchers like Professor Reilly, and their work, there’s hope. Moving forward Professor Reilly suggests we need to start smart and this means early detection.
Identifying children who have language challenges before they go to school means early intervention and better outcomes. She also debunked a great myth and assured parents that children who are late talkers won’t necessarily have a problem down the track.
For more information on Professor Sheena Reilly’s research visit her Griffith Experts profile.