The link between early play and later communication skills is evident in research, too. One study sought to understand whether communication could benefit from play. Researchers observed what happened when an infant began playing with a toy. They found that if the mother responded by manipulating and naming the toys, the baby – when tested three months later – would have better language skills. Another study, conducted by the University of Georgia, observed sixty-five kindergartners in their classrooms over four weeks. The presence of play, especially pretend play, was found to predict performance in pre-reading, language, and writing. Pretend-play is especially beneficial because it allows young children to practice their vocabulary when they speak and try to understand others. During social play, they often reciprocate each other’s words and actions to reach agreements.
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