You are here

Learning New Words

No matter how hard you try to teach your baby the names for things you think he should learn ("This is a book! BOOK!"), he's far likelier to attach words to objects that excite him  -- say, that nifty toy truck.

"Your baby learns the most from things that fascinate him," says Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., the H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Education at the University of Delaware, in Newark.
If your baby giggles whenever he sees a favorite puppet, tell him, "Bunny. That's a bunny." In a study Golinkoff conducted along with researchers from Temple University, babies learned new words after hearing them just five times. As your baby gets older, he'll learn language differently. After 12 months kids master words more quickly when grown-ups are excited about them, too. By age 2 most toddlers easily learn words for all objects, regardless of their interest in them.