How Does Language Development Affect Cognitive Development?

By Sara Ipatenco
Father reading to his daughter in bed.

Because the plasticity of the brain is greater during the first few years of life, younger children -- including babies and toddlers -- are able to learn language more easily. Language is one of the most important things babies acquire, and learning language also lays the foundation for boosting cognition and academic achievement later in life.

The Correlation Between Language and Cognition

The ability to understand and produce language is essential for learning new things. Toddlers tend to pick up between two and three new words each day, according to Sandra Crosser, a professor at Ohio Northern University. Often, these words relate to new objects encountered or are new words to express feelings and ideas. Building vocabulary boosts cognition and promotes knowledge of the world. It also allows children to form new ideas and share them with caregivers.

Language and Academic Achievement

Building language skills is a key component of later academic ability. When you talk to and interact with your child, he's learning how to communicate through new words and new word sounds. Learning language is crucial for later reading abilities, according to a 2006 article published in "Paediatrics and Child Health." Children who read well have an entire world of knowledge at their fingertips.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.