Monday, April 4, 2011

Tip 23 - For rePeat's Sake! - Repetition builds fast brains

Have you ever wondered why young children love to hear the same bedtime stories over and over? Or why a two year old will become upset if you skip a page from a favorite book?  The brain is actually designed to use repetition to build strong, fast pathways. So developing predictable routines in the home around activities where repetition level is high, not only makes for a calmer home it helps build brain speed and capacity.
Bedtime routines – Ages 6 months through ten years
Mealtime or other family routines – all ages Many of today’s families are so busy with afterschool activities and events that a dinner routine is all but impossible, especially during the pre-teen and teenage years. But try to find at least one meal or activity a week where the entire family is together and
In the last blog I talked about the importance of prediction. New brain research is showing that the brain uses repetition to build this capacity to predict and that build’s the brain’s ability to handle familiar information quickly so that complex, changing information can be handled more quickly as well. Dr. Paula Tallal, at a neuroscience conference last week explained it this way – an accomplished musician practices scales everyday; a golfer practices repeated strokes at a driving range; most writers keep daily logs.
WHY?  Because research shows that the brain is a statistical processor that uses repetition and frequency of occurrence to prioritize information for storage.  Through repetition of highly familiar activities the brain stays primed to handle that information quickly so that complex processing can proceed with less effort.
To see firsthand the value repetition in early learning, watch this video of young twins speaking to each other. Notice that they do not have real words yet, but obviously through hours of listening to their parents talk they have learned the value of speech melody (intonational contour) and communicative interaction. In a few months frequently repeated words made of easy to say combinations like “mama’ and “dada” will creep into to their dialogue.

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