Understanding Sources of Individual Variability in Parents’ Number Talk with Children.

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Journal Name
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Journal Volume
159
Page Count
15
Year Published
2017
Author (Individual)
Elliott, Leanne.
Braham, Emily J.
Libertus, Melissa E.
Resource Type
Journal Article
Several studies suggest that parents’ use of number words while talking with their children is positively related to children’s understanding of certain mathematical concepts. In this study, we extended these findings and further examined several parent characteristics that could be related to individual differences in their number talk, including their subjective ratings of their math skills, preference for using math, beliefs about the importance of their children’s math skills, and numerical approximation abilities, an early number skill present in children and adults. A sample of 44 5- and 6-year-old children and their parents completed a variety of laboratory-based tasks, including a 10-min free play session to assess number talk, a standardized math assessment for children, a nonsymbolic numerical comparison task for parents, and several questionnaires for parents. Parents’ overall number talk was not related to children’s performance on the math assessment; however, parents’ use of numbers larger than 10 was positively and significantly related to children’s math abilities even when controlling for parents’ overall talk. Parents’ large number talk was also associated with their numerical approximation abilities and subjective math ability, suggesting that math-specific characteristics of parents themselves can explain some of the individual variability in parents’ use of number words, especially those larger than 10. (Author abstract)

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