Writing

Here’s a nice article on how writing is good for you.

Psychologists have long understood that personal, emotion-focused writing can help people recognize and come to terms with their feelings. Since the 1980s, studies have found that “the writing cure,” which normally involves writing about one’s feelings every day for 15 to 30 minutes, can lead to measurable physical and mental health benefits. These benefits include everything from lower stress and fewer depression symptoms to improved immune function. And there’s evidence that handwriting may better facilitate this form of therapy than typing.

For Results, Turn Your Phone Off

They tested how children learn new words from their parents when interrupted by a text message.

Results suggested that children only learned the words in the uninterrupted condition — when the teaching period was not interrupted by a cell phone call. Interruptions of the sort that we experience everyday from calls and texts that randomly poke into our dynamically unfolding social conversations derail conversations and child learning.

Word learning depends on responsive, back and forth conversations that are both timely and meaningful. The quality, not just the quantity of language input to the child matters for language learning. A study explores the impact of media use by parents in the presence of their children.

I Can Tell You A True Story

They tested the idea that children learn from stories about anthropomorphic animals.

Forget the morals that millennia of children have learned from the Hare and the Tortoise and the Fox and the Crow: Aesop would have had a greater effect with his fables if he’d put the stories into the mouths of human characters, at least according to new research from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).

In the Canadian study, researchers read one of three stories to almost 100 children between four and six years old: Mary Packard’s Little Raccoon Learns to Share, in which anthropomorphic animals learn that sharing makes you feel good; a version of the story in which the animal illustrations were replaced with human characters; or a control book about seeds.

Guess what happened.

Ganea said that while “a growing body of research has shown that young children more readily apply what they’ve learned from stories that are realistic … this is the first time we found something similar for social behaviours”.

 

Talk

A child in an environment with a rich spoken vocabulary will read better.

Using special eye-tracking technology, neuropsychologist Signy Wegener has established that when children hear a word, it prepares them to be able to read it later on.

I notice that the study involves words spoken by a person, not televisions or apps.

“The take-home message for parents is: ‘Talk to your kids. Try and use new and complex vocabulary. Take the opportunity to explain what that means during conversation or during shared storybook reading’…”

We talk all the time and I try not to adjust my language for the children so they get exposed to words they might not otherwise,” she said.

Feeling Lucky? Give Your Kid A Smartphone

After looking at language delay, the findings showed that the more time a child spent with a handheld device, the more likely the child was to have delays in speech, with each 30-minute increase in handheld screen time resulting in a 49-percent increased risk of speech delay.

A half-hour per day is a coin-flip. Tails, you can’t make certain sounds with your mouth.

Experts Remain Puzzled

Doing philosophy makes kids better at math and reading.

Philosophical discussions about truth, fairness or kindness appear to give a small but significant boost to the maths and literacy progress of primary school pupils, although experts remain puzzled as to why.

Children in Montessori elementary schools are constantly talking about fairness and respectfulness simultaneously as they work on math and reading together.

Language Is A Movement

Marieke Longchamp and Jean-Luc Velay, two researchers at the cognitive neuroscience laboratory at Aix-Marseille University, have carried out a study of 76 children, aged three to five. The group that learned to write letters by hand were better at recognising them than the group that learned to type them on a computer. They repeated the experiment on adults, teaching them Bengali or Tamil characters. The results were much the same as with the children.

Drawing each letter by hand improves our grasp of the alphabet because we really have a “body memory…

Typing Is Not Writing

If you take the AMI training, they won’t let you take notes with a laptop. You write, partially because you forget and misunderstand what you type on your computer.

Half of the students were instructed to take notes with a laptop, and the other half were instructed to write the notes out by hand. As in other studies, students who used laptops took more notes. In each study, however, those who wrote out their notes by hand had a stronger conceptual understanding and were more successful in applying and integrating the material than those who used took notes with their laptops.