According to a new study by researchers at Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University and the University of Michigan, just talking about math at home improves preschoolers’ ability.
Authors of the study hope to focus the same type of attention that is on early literacy on early mathematics as well, says co-author Pamela Davis-Kean, associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and director of its Center for the Analyses of Pathways from Childhood to Adulthood.
“I think many researchers thought of math as ‘taught’ rather than something that is also based on early interactions, as we know occurs with literacy and reading,” she says
The study is small, utilizing 40 families who were tracked over a three day period and then evaluated their children’s skills a year later.
The study confirms common sense, says Laura Bilodeau Overdeck, the founder of Bedtime Math. The nonprofit sends daily math problems to parents to share with their kids.
“When kids hear subject matter from their parents, whom they often want to imitate, it leads to good outcomes,” says Overdeck. “Just as reading a bedtime story leads kids to read for pleasure as adults, talking about math can lead to ‘math for pleasure’ — a phrase we don’t hear very often.”