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7 Ways Girls and Boys Learn Language Differently


Just how exactly do boys and girls differ when it comes to cognitive learning? Here are seven major differences, with tips on how to even the playing field.

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1. Budding Speakers

Girls develop language skills earlier than boys, which helps create the stereotype that females are more verbal than males. Even though girls talk sooner, more clearly, and have a larger vocabulary earlier than boys, boys do eventually catch up. Encourage your son's language development by having him participate in conversations.

2. Vocabulary

Generally, a 20-month year-old little girl has twice the vocabulary as a 20-month year-old boy. This difference in vocabulary knowledge doesn't last, as boys' vocab knowledge improves to meet the vocabulary skills of girls.

3. Early Reading

It also appears that boys have more difficulty with oral reading than girls. Boys and girls perform the same on reading tests that don't require writing. Writing seems to be more of an area of difficulty for males. Read to your son every night to promote good reading habits and verbal skills.

4. Verbal Intelligence

Generally, boys have similar verbal intelligence to girls. Girls tend to enjoy reading for fun more than boys. By the time boys catch up to girls with verbal skills, they may have not picked up the habit of reading for fun or believe in their verbal abilities.

5. Different Hemispheres

One study found that 3 to 6 month old girls were more responsive in their brain's left hemispheres than the same age boys who were more responsive in their right hemispheres. For righted-handed people, the left side of the brain is the language center and the right side of the brain is focused on spatial skills. Therefore, a little girl is more likely to TELL you what she is excited about than a little boy who is more likely to SHOW you. Encourage you daughter to practice her spatial skills by tossing toys into the toy box.

6. Spatial Skills

Males have an advantage in mental rotation, being able to see and rotate dimensional objects in your mind and match them to a picture of the object. Males also seem to have stronger skills with spatio-visual tasks where visual displays are moving, like in computer games. Select computer games for your daughter that involve strategy rather than quick reactions.

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7. Perceptual Speed

Girls tend to be stronger in the skill of perceptual speed, which is a visual task. It involves matching objects and pictures. This skills is useful in proofreading, where girls tend to be better at finding errors than boys. Play "I spy" or do puzzles where your child needs to look for differences in pictures.