Washington, April 24: Researchers have claimed that when mothers read picture book stories, children hear as much sophisticated information about animals as when they read flashcard-type animal vocabulary books.
Study's author, Professor Daniela O'Neill, said marketers tell parents and educators that vocabulary books are more educational, so picture books are often dismissed as being just for fun.
The study, by Professor O'Neill of the Department of Psychology at Waterloo, and Angela Nyhout, a graduate student, recorded 25 mothers while they read two books to their toddlers, each featuring six animals.
In one book, the animals were part of a story told in pictures. But in the other book, a picture of each animal was presented against a blank background, in the usual style of "vocabulary learning" books.
Illustrations of a bear, shown against a blank background and against an illutrated backgroundExample illustrations of the style that researchers used in books to study the language that parents use when reading with children.
Researchers recorded 25 mothers while they read two books to their toddlers
Professor O'Neill said what they found was that moms in our study used a special form of language - something called generics - as frequently when reading the picture storybook to their child as the picture vocabulary book.
She said generic language tells children about animals in general, not just about one animal. It's the difference between saying 'This giraffe has a long neck' and 'Giraffes have long necks.' In the second case, we are more likely to learn something about all giraffes in general - that they all have long necks."
The study has been published in the open access journal Frontiers in Psychology. (ANI)