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WSU Newsline: Teachers, parents talk too fast for young children
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 4:01 PM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification.

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu. Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs.  If you have additional questions for Ray Hull after listening to the WSU Newsline, please contact him at (316) 978-3271 or ray.hull@wichita.edu.

Background:

Many young children may find it hard to understand what teachers are saying because most teachers talk too fast, according to Ray Hull, an audiologist at Wichita State University. He says many teachers speak at a rate of about 160 words per minute, but elementary students can only process speech up to 124 words per minute.

Voice wrap:

Announcer: Some learning difficulties in children may be the result of too many adults talking too fast. Wichita State University audiologist Ray Hull says that adults generally speak at a rate of 160-170 words per minute, but a young child's central nervous system can only process speech at a rate of about 124 words per minute.

Hull: "One of the reasons that Mr. Fred Rogers was so popular with young children is that he may have been one of the only adults that they could truly understand. He spoke at a rate of about 124 words per minute, and children's central nervous systems could comprehend what he was saying."

Announcer: Hull says the difficulties that children sometimes experience in understanding what adults are saying, and perhaps our perception of their inattentiveness, may be as much our fault as fast-talking adults. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.

Sound bite #1

Hull says the problem with children understanding what adults are saying may be the fault of adults as much as with children. The sound bite is 20 seconds and the outcue is "with the children."

Hull: "The difficulties that children sometimes experience in understanding what adults are saying, and perhaps our perception of their inattentiveness, may be as much our fault as adults and our speaking habits as it is with the children."

Sound bite #2

Hull explains why children have a hard time understanding adults. The sound bite is about 28 seconds and the outcue is "124 words per minute."

Hull: "The problem is that adults are speaking at a rate that a child's central nervous system, or their brain, cannot comprehend. Adults, for example, generally speak at a rate of about 160 to 170 words per minute. Whereas, the child's central nervous system can process speech at a rate of about 124 words per minute."

Sound bite #3

Hull says teachers and parents tend to talk too fast for children. The sound bite is 8 seconds and the outcue is "to comprehend."

Hull: "Teachers, like parents, also speak at a rate that children cannot be expected to comprehend."

Sound bite #4

Hull says teachers need to slow down when talking to young children. The sound bite is 12 seconds and the outcue is "by an adult audience."

Hull: "Teachers simply cannot expect young children to comprehend what they are saying when teachers are speaking at a rate that would be understood by an adult audience."

Sound bite #5

Hull says aging adults will experience similar problems as young children when it comes to speech comprehension. The sound bite is 26 seconds and the outcue is "what he was saying."

Hull: "Aging adults will also experience similar problems to those of young children in regard to speech comprehension. Speech at a typical adult rate is difficult to understand by aging adults. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Walter Cronkite was so revered by many adults. They could understand what he was saying."

Sound bite #5

Hull explains what happens when we slow our speech. The sound bite is 18 seconds and the outcue is "greater clarity." It will come to you in 3…2…1 (play tape)

Hull: "When we slow our rate of speech, our own central nervous system takes over and begins to fill in the gaps between what is uttered and what would typically not be uttered. We begin to speak naturally with greater clarity."

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Contact: Ray Hull, (316) 978-3271 or at ray.hull@wichita.edu.
Created on Jul 30, 2008 4:01 PM; Last modified on Nov 19, 2008 11:32 AM