Video: Beyond babble, back-and-forth conversations are critical for baby brains

A 10-year study found that the number of back-and-forth conversation exchanges a child averages from ages 18-24 months still correlates to reading, language, and cognitive abilities in middle school. Low-income children, children who experience family instability, and children whose mothers who did not graduate college complete significantly fewer exchanges.

Early childhood educators can help fill those gaps. In their toolkit are tiny vests worn by their students that record and report conversation exchanges with caregivers. 

LENA Grow is a 10-week training course for early childhood educators that teaches them how in increase the number of conversations they have with their 0 to 3 year-old students. 

Related: "Gift of gab: Frayser children reach for kindergarten readiness before they learn to talk"

Early Childhood Academies from High Ground News on Vimeo.

Support for this story was provided in part by the Urban Child Institute as part of an ongoing series highlighting the importance of early childhood education and intervention. UCI focuses its support and advocacy on kindergarten readiness and third-grade literacy in an effort to improve education, health, and well-being of children and families in Shelby County.
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Forever Ready Productions is based in Memphis. It specializes in fast paced, timely content for non profits, small businesses and start-ups. The production company's founder, Lauren Squires Ready, has more than a decade of award-winning video journalism experience and uses that skill to help create an impact narrative for any mission driven organization. Visit for more information.