Show Details

Talk Pedometer

February 21, 2017

“Talk pedometers” measure how many words children hear throughout the day in the home.


PTphoto3 Providence Talks

(Providence Talks)


Listening for success. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

For optimal brain development, young children should hear 15 to 20,000 words a day. But many low-income children hear fewer than 8,000, according to Caitlin Molina, executive director of Providence Talks. She says this “word gap” can delay school readiness. To bridge the gap, Molina and her team outfit children in the Rhode Island city with what they call “talk pedometers”.

CAITLIN MOLINA (Providence Talks):

They wear these recorders to capture the language environment of their home: How many words is your child exposed to over the course of a day, and what is the back and forth conversation in their home?


She reported at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that families receive feedback based on this data about how to enhance their interactions, and 2/3 of children make progress in their language development as a result. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard