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The importance of Parental number-talk

Research has repeatedly shown the importance of developing the linguistic and numeracy capabilities of pre-school children to better prepare them for their school journey. Recent research has once again pointed out the importance of parents in this process. In our previous newsletter we looked at ways in which parents can improve their children’s vocabulary. Today we specifically look at the importance of numbers and the input of parents to ensure that their children develop appropriate number knowledge. A recent study in the journal of the Society for Research in Child Development, highlighted the importance of reading specifically from so-called number books. For smaller children, reading from number books which treat numbers 1-3, the impact was significant. Similarly, number books treating the numbers 4-6 also significantly improved number knowledge relative to the control group of children who only experienced normal story books. This proves once again not only the importance of parents reading to their children, but also that it is wise to put some thought into the material which one selects. Especially when children are still small, a wide range of books which encompasses a robust vocabulary as well as the basic numbers set is non-negotiable. By including numbers and number books in the set of print-reading books which they read aloud to their children daily, parents will begin to lay the foundations for the number-sense which children will need as they start with basic arithmetic and, later on, mathematics. Dr. Jacobus Liebenberg

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