Raffi Was Right: Bananaphones Help Kids Learn Language


New study confirms what parents already knew.

By Uncle Blurt

Although I was already out of college by the time kids’ music star (and child advocate) Raffi came along, I certainly wasn’t unaware of the dude and how important he has been in helping kids grow up and expand their tiny little minds. Both my grandchildren got Raffi CDs for Christmas a few years ago, in fact, and I read with great interest this interview conducted awhile back by BLURT’s editor with the artist. His album Bananaphone remains a classic of the genre.

On Thursday a story was presented at a White House conference concerning young learning and “bridging the word gap” among low income children, reports the New York Times. “Quality interactions involving words – the use of symbols… were a far better predictor of language skills at age 3 than any other factor, including the quantity of words a child hood… Said Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University and lead author of the study, “It’s about having these fluid conversations around shared rituals and objects, like pretending to have morning coffee together or using the banana as a phone. [emphasis mine] That is the stuff from which language is made.”

So there you have it. Raffi was right all along. Of course, parents everywhere already knew this. It took an expensive study to tell us that?

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