The study from the University of Iowa in US looked at how mothers responded to their 12-month-olds during book reading, puppet play, and toy play.
    
Researchers found that the babies made more speech-like sounds during reading than when playing with puppets or toys.
    
They also discovered mothers were more responsive to these types of sounds while reading to their child than during the other activities.
    
The findings might explain why book reading has been linked to language development in young children.
    
The study also found that no matter the context, mothers' responses to speech-like sounds were often imitations or an expansion of the sound.
    
Researchers observed the interactions of 34 mothers and their 12-month-olds during three 10-minute periods of different activities: puppet play, toy play, and book reading.
    
They then coded each child's vocalisations and their mother's responses. Vocalisations included any sound the baby made except distress cries and fusses, hiccups, coughs, and grunts.
    
The study was published in the journal Language Learning and Development.

 

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