Has your child heard 45 million words?

They should by age 4.

Happy July! This year, I spent July 4th in Chicago on the rooftop of a close friend. The fireworks were fabulous! And, you could see all the way to the suburbs – what great views!  There were many children at the party, and their awe of the fireworks was delightful.  The conversations the children were having with their parents fascinated me even more.

Did you know that children need to hear 45 million words by the time they are four years old in order to be ready for school*? That is 30,000 words a day!  There is a strong focus in Illinois to have all children ready for kindergarten. Those 30,000 words a day are extremely important to accomplish this goal.  I highly recommend everyone read the book Thirty Million Words Building a Child’s Brain by Dana Suskind, MD. Dr. Suskind expands upon the work done by Hart and Risley research. She states that the way we talk with our growing child literally builds his or her brain. In Dr. Suskind’s research, she explains how to create the best “language environments” for children. She calls it the Three T’s – Tune In; Talk More; Take Turns.

The parents at this holiday party I attended were well on their way preparing their little ones to be ready for school at age five. We need all parents to realize that what they say, and how much they say, can strongly help shape their child’s future.

At Child’s Voice, we directly see the impact the Three T’s has on children with hearing loss. Only 2-3 births out of 1,000 does an infant experience a hearing loss. Hearing loss is a low incident disability, yet, not hearing has a profound effect on the child’s brain development. This is why throughout all programs offered at Child’s Voice we stress the Three T’s.  We also teach our parents to do so as well.

Our extended school year program and our Early Intervention services wrapped up recently.  We have a light crew in the building until August 22nd, and then we begin another exciting school year.  We are looking forward to adding many words to our students vocabularies.

Enjoy the rest of summer…Read a good book! (hint-hint)


Dr. Michele

*Hart, B. & Risley, T. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.